Exhibition review: Michelle Vine: Soft Touch


Hugs and touches stimulate our brains, releasing serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine, leaving us rewarded and full. It goes without saying that in today’s pandemic world, we could all use up a dose of these beneficial brain chemicals.

Installation artist Michelle Vine’s latest exhibition literally embraces a multisensory approach. Soak in a luxurious tub, put on the headphones, and listen to Vine’s soothing voice. Wrap yourself in a set of limp arms, talk on the furry phone, or create your own masterpiece on the glitter wall. The exhibition is fun, whimsical and immersive, drawing art lovers of all ages.

Read: Language is a River, Monash Museum of Modern Art

Vine’s use of fabric, fur, sequins and other common materials signals a further break in the “rules” of the art. Encouraging visitors to touch and play with the artwork, Vine has created an exhibit accessible to all members of the community. Moving away from the primacy of sight that has traditionally dominated galleries, Vine’s works encourage interaction using touch and hearing in addition to the visual. This multisensory exhibition follows the massive success of artists like Yayoi Kusama and his erasure rooms, Shoplifter’s Nervescape V (2016) as part of Sugar Spin at QAGOMA and the interactive mastodon Van Gogh alive.

While art buffs may hesitate at the popularity of exhibitions such as Soft to the touch, Vine’s “touch” is as serious as it is fun. Encouraging play, embracing materials, providing inclusiveness and expanding the offerings of the traditional museum, this exhibit is the big, big hug we all need right now.

Michelle Vine, soft touch
Caboolture Regional Art Gallery

Free entry

Soft Touch will be on display until January 29, 2022

About Bernice D. Brewer

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