We tend to present the world of Art to those privileged enough to be able to see it, be they paintings on a wall, objects protected in glass cases or work with that all too common sign “DO NOT TOUCH” attached to them. What then does that leave for those who are visually impaired?
This research project addressed this issue and I have come to the conclusion that by providing an alternative sensory experience, touch, and allowing an interaction with the work, a whole new meaning can be brought to the viewer, both sighted and visually impaired. Too often blindness is understood as a lack of, an absence or a deficit. To experienced blind people it is just a different way of perceiving, a different use of the senses in different proportions and in different combinations.
I chose the portraits painted by the artist Francis Bacon as my research and in the making process I discovered that, instead of the pieces being considered just copies of Bacons portraits, the elements from the different works have entered into a parallel story where their own rhythms and energies have taken position and the ceramic portraits function as works in themselves.
The tactile and malleable qualities of clay allow me to transcribe the energy of Bacon’s bold mark making and passionate colours, almost in the same way braille provides access to the written word.