My book, The Sensing Body in the Visual Arts: Making and Experiencing Sculpture, is now out from Bloomsbury.
“The Sensing Body in the Visual Arts begins with the sculptor asking a simple question: what would it be like for someone to experience the work of art through touch alone? This takes her, and her reader, on a complex exploration of sensory perception and aesthetics. Touch, as Driscoll reveals, involves far more than the simple recognition of forms through tracing their outline, or the simple appreciation of different textures. A fully embodied experience of art links the intellect with the emotions, and intertwines time, space and movement. The book boldly challenges conventions of art criticism and museum display practices. It is a compelling read for anyone interested in art, with much to say to cognitive science, aesthetic philosophy, art criticism and museology.” Georgina Kleege, author of More Than Meets the Eye: What Blindness Brings to Art (2018)
The book explores the connective, creative powers of the somatic senses in making and perceiving the visual arts. This detailed, phenomenological analysis of the somatosensory experience of art is grounded in my lifelong practice as a sculptor. The writing sheds light on the usually hidden, unconscious role of the somatic senses in artists’ working processes and people’s experience of art. Becoming aware of the multiple dimensions of somatic sensitivity opens rich aesthetic, perceptual territory in art making and appreciation.
My understanding of this complex sensory mode is based in years of making tactile/haptic sculpture and documenting people’s responses to it. I learned that touching is a profoundly different way of knowing than seeing, and that touch is far more than hand, skin and surface, running deep inside the body in kinesthetic, proprioceptive responses that merge with emotion, intuition and imagination. My artistic and sensory development serves as the framework within which the book explores the structure and abilities of the hand; the objective and subjective dimensions of touch; movement and kinesthesia; blindness; emotion; time and memory; visualization; imagination; and the somatic senses in art making, art history, art museums and the visual experience of art.