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Bunbury Regional Art Gallery


The Art of Slow Looking


Sometimes a visit to the art gallery can be an overwhelming experience. With so many works on display, trying to see everything can feel like a race against the clock. Studies have found that visitors to art galleries spend an average of eight seconds looking at each work on display.

But what happens when we spend five minutes, fifteen minutes, or even longer looking in detail at an artwork? This is ‘slow looking’. It is an approach based on the idea that, if we really want to get to know a work of art, we need to spend time with it.

Art, like in a mindfulness meditation, opens the space between our thoughts and emotions and allows us to move into a higher level of consciousness. When looking at art, something inside us moves. We may feel an emotion or just feel inspired. Just as in meditation, we may have a visceral experience, feeling a tingling in the brain or warmth in the heart space.

Observing art allows us to step outside ourselves and open to something beautiful, something different, something unexpected. It makes us vulnerable and forces us to consider possibilities. There’s a nonverbal language that exists between a work of art and the viewer.

Slow looking is not about curators, historians or even artists telling you how you should look at art. It's about you and the artwork, allowing yourself time to make your own discoveries and form a more personal connection with it.

Some of the works require you to investigate more closely, while other works may invite a more contemplative inward enquiry.

There is no right or wrong way of ‘slow looking’. Just immerse yourself in what your eyes are telling you and where they take you next. Enjoy the process.

If you are in need of a more meditative approach, you can click the link below or scan a QR CODE displayed in the gallery and listen to a guided meditation to ease you into a mindful mode of looking.