Research reveals that the average gallery-goer spends eight seconds looking at an artwork. Even that might seem on the generous side, as we’re all guilty of, at times, barely glancing up while nonetheless impulsively peering at our phones to check the real McCoy of gazing: our Instagram feeds.
Unadulterated looking. What was once a humdrum activity available to all has become – in our million-mile-an-hour culture of being always on, forever in touch, omni-informed and ultra alert – not so much a luxury as a challenge. Stand in front of a painting and count the seconds...ok, you are free to move on...
But looking deeply at art is not just some much-needed respite from the bustle. Gallery-going is not a three-dimensional version of the Calm app. Critic Martin Herbert noted that painting especially ‘allows a more protracted unfurling than the rest of life’; what the onlooker stands to gain is the buzz of scouring deeper, searching for and unearthing clues, and most rewardingly, reflecting on themselves as they look. Looking inward.
The paintings in front of you have been made at varying speeds in the studio, some swiftly, others very much more slowly. We invite you to spend however long you like looking at them, and perhaps being looked at by them. As the seconds tick, watch out for something being unfurled.
Artists featured: Gal Schindler, Elinor Stanley, Penelope Kupfer