Sense Aesthetic

Mark Ewart

Openness to finding comfort in unexpected places, is something that we should welcome into our lives right now. Not as an antidote to the ‘boredom’ that broadcast media feels bound to protect us from, but instead, a quiet, dignified appreciation, for what immediately surrounds us within our confinement.

Of course, the irony is that most of us are still too busy to be bored anyway – and I include those doing essential and highly valued work in the community, as well as those who have sadly lost their jobs and are now occupied by worry and stress, upon more worry and stress.

When we get through this – and we will – then perhaps there is a real opportunity for a re-calibration with the simpler things in life that do not, by default, deplete our energy / time / wellbeing; and not to mention the Planet’s ecosystems and climate.

For me personally, the sights and sounds that were etched into childhood memories can, without warning, be re-awakened by random things: a flock of birds flying in formation, the distant drone of a Cessna plane on a summer’s evening or the play of light on a weathered wall.

Flock – Mark Ewart

Developing a sensitivity to what we see and feel and the need to learn how to identify and value the experience of such things, requires a form of empathy, an aesthetic literacy:

The aesthetic experience may involve viewing something in a new way; provoking an instinctive response that promotes well-being…and/or leading to deeper knowledge

Zande, Robin Vande   Source: Art Education. Jan 2007, Vol. 60 Issue 1, p39-42. 4p.

Faded – Mark Ewart

Mark Ewart is an artist, art teacher and lecturer on the PME Art & Design at CIT Crawford


Developing our Sensory Aesthetic

This task gently suggested and received, can be applied to any sensory experience, media, found or treasured object or environment, of your choosing.

  1. IDENTIFY / SELECT (object…space…texture…memory….sound)
  2. EXPLORE (its meaning to you or others)
  3. REFLECT (on its characteristics)
  4. ASSOCIATE (its form to an emotion)

If I was to suggest an artist that might inspire you in your endeavours, consider Andy Goldsworthy’s tactile environmental land art. The beautiful film ‘Rivers and Tides’ (2001) is a calming first step.

‘Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty – his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure’.

Aldous Huxley