Breath in Visual Art

by Sarah McLusky, Project Manager


There are a lot of artworks in our exhibition – from ancient cave paintings to original commissions – demonstrating the ways that art and breath have been intertwined for millennia. Some artists, like Jayne Wilton and Andrew Styan, have sought to capture and visualise the breath. Others, like Paulina Siniatkina, have used art to convey the experience of breathlessness.

Later this week, we are delighted to have three of the artists joining us in Durham – Jayne Wilton, Helen Collard and Miriam Quick. On Friday 1 February 2019, the artists will participate in a symposium, each giving a short talk and then joining a discussion with each other and the audience. Then, on Saturday 2 February 2019, they will host a unique free workshop where they will each run an interactive session allowing participants to try out different techniques, ask questions and explore how breath might inform their own creative practice. Find more details about both events on our ‘What’s On’ page.

Last year Jayne Wilton gave a lecture on ‘Breath in Visual Art’ as part of our ‘Arts of Breath’ series. For a taster of these events you can listen to highlights of this lecture and an interview with Jayne in this podcast.

Breath in Visual Art with Jayne Wilton, from the Life of Breath podcast series

Jayne Wilton has spent the last 10 years exploring ways of capturing and visualising the breath. The exhibition features a number of her pieces including the sculptures ‘Happen’ (2012) and ‘Breath which turns back towards itself’ (2015) and copper plates from a series created with respiratory patients.

Happen (2012) by Jayne Wilton

Helen Collard is the creative mind behind the ‘Ohmerometer’, an original interactive artwork which allows visitors to make music with their breath.

Ohmerometer II (2018) by Helen Collard and Alistair MacDonald

Miriam Quick specialises in the creative visualisation of data. The exhibtion features two works she created with collaborator Stefanie Posavec. In ‘Sleep Songs’ (2018), they tracked their breathing patterns as they slept to create graphic and musical artworks, and in ‘Air Transformed’ (2015), they turned air quality data into wearable accessories.

Sleep Songs (2018) by Miriam Quick and Stefanie Posavec

Share this Post