Hang Ups, Series one - Soft Fascination

As part of a developing body of work, Soft Fascination is a series of ceramic portals to the sea. They hang not as illustrations, but rather, in their subtle shifts and subliminal differences, to draw and hold the viewers focus. To create a moment to consider the sea and our relationship with it: as bridge, barrier, habitat, and universal symbol.

Through careful studies of the Kentish coast - it’s wild estuaries, managed beaches, and industrial docks - the portals describe where the land meets the sea, the point at which we take a view on the world across the ocean (or even as far as Essex).

 Why do we experience catharsis, staring out to sea? Drawing from psychological research, the work explores the phenomenon of ‘soft fascination’, a theory proposed by Rachel Kaplan and Steven Kaplan. Soft fascination is the effortless attention or meditative state induced by natural rhythms and patterns, proven to be psychologically restorative.

This becomes more relevant in a world of information overload. We look down into our devices, down into a myriad of escapes offering a synthetic amusement at the expense of lived experience. We can look down and be distracted as anaesthetic against the loneliness of the crowd. But it doesn’t last.

We need to look up, to look out, to feel dwarfed, to experience feeling ‘Natural’.