Sunday 2 January 2022

Michelle Vines: Soft Touch Exhibition

It is school holiday time here, and I'm always on the look out for outings and adventures that we can do with the little superheroes. About a month ago, an article was shared through my work about a sensory based exhibition at one of our local art galleries.

I hadn't yet had the opportunity to visit with my clients, so one afternoon we had a few hours to spare before the little superheroes PT session so we headed to the art gallery.

The exhibition is titled Michelle Vines: Soft Touch. 

Michelle is a contemporary Brisbane based artist and this exhibition reflects Michelle's sensory seeking nature and celebrates her own neurodiversity (Michelle is Autistic and ADHD.) Michelle loves creating accessible and inclusive artwork and in this exhibition she utilises our sense of touch to explore and become immersed in the exhibition.

Just the name of the exhibition, Soft Touch, gives the impression that everything in the exhibition is not only touchable, but also soft. Upon entering the space, what awaits you does not disappoint.

Now usually we can not get the little superheroes to stay in an art gallery. When we visited, I struggled to get them to leave the art gallery. Usually in an art gallery, you will find signs telling visitors to stand behind velvet ropes and not touch anything. 

Soft Touch is the polar opposite. As we entered the art gallery, an attendant informed us - they were truly wonderful and were addressing both little superheroes - you can touch, play with, sit on and in, cuddle, manipulate and explore absolutely everything. The look on both little superheroes faces were priceless.

Soft Touch is just stunning - there are soft sculptures, soothing landscapes, furry forests, a cosy bathtub, embraceable artworks. It is a playground of contemporary art where visitors are encouraged to sit, relax and play while their senses are ignited and their imagination runs wild.

While Michelle can take credit for all of the magical and whimsical sculptures, the soundscapes are the works of artist and composer Nicole Carroll and Seth Ellis. Visitors are invited to listen to these relaxing soundscapes through wireless headphones that are part of the exhibition. Both little superheroes zoned out and became lost in play while listening to the soundscapes. It was wonderful to see them both relaxed, happy and stimming away!

Upon entering the space, you are greeted with soft ropes with tufty fluffies (as O was calling them,) falling precariously off of a wall. As we meandered through this, I'm fairly certain that both little superheroes felt every single one of the ropes!

You then enter the Affirmation Room which is a set of works that you can climb into, sit on or wrap around you. There is a cast iron bath tub lined with memory foam and faux fur, a lounge seat also lined with memory foam and faux fur, cuddle creatures that you can wrap around you. Purely magical.

Henry came with us and relaxed on the floor! At one point, O decided that Henry would enjoy listening to the soothing sounds. I'm not sure that Henry agreed!

The Sensation Play Wall can only be described as a HUGE mermaid sequin pillow attached to the wall. Both little superheroes love the feel of the mermaid pillows, so an entire wall was bliss.

When we entered the whimsical forest section of Soft Touch, L exclaimed "truffalo trees!" We love the movie adaptation of Dr Seuss' The Lorax and he was absolutely correct. It looked as though we were standing in a Truffalo forest with magical creatures around us.

The Surrogates for Social Touch wall was amazing. It was an eclectic mix of ordinary household items that were all adapted into sensory items with faux fur, soft trim and other such materials on them. Both little superheroes took great delight in exploring every item on the wall and then trying to work out what the original item would have been used for.

This was a whimsical forest of soft lace falling from the ceiling in a circular pattern. At times, all I could see where pairs of feet walking through the lace.

If you have the opportunity and are in the Caboolture area, I would highly recommend an outing to interact with this exhibition. Not only is it a wonderful, unique exhibition, it is also free! The exhibition is open until the 22nd of January 2022.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, this looks amazing. It looks like my idea of sensory heaven. Do you think the artist will tour this exhibition?


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