Exhibition review: Michelle Vine: Soft Touch

Fun, whimsical and immersive art installations.

Hugs and touching stimulate our brains, releasing serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine, leaving us feeling rewarded and sated. It goes without saying that in the current pandemic-laden world, we could all use a hit of these feel-good brain chemicals.

The latest exhibition from installation artist Michelle Vine literally embraces a multi-sensorial approach. Sink into a luxurious bathtub, don the headphones and listen to Vine’s soothing voice. Wrap yourself in a set of amorphous arms, talk on a furry phone or create a masterpiece of your own on the sequined wall. The exhibition is fun, whimsical and immersive, appealing to art lovers of all ages.

Read: Language is a River, Monash Museum of Modern Art

Vine’s use of fabric, fur, sequins and other common materials signal a larger break down of art ‘rules’. Encouraging visitors to touch and play with the artworks, Vine has created an exhibition accessible to all members of the community. Moving away from the primacy of sight which has traditionally dominated galleries, Vine’s works encourage interaction utilising touch and hearing in addition to the visual. This multi-sensory exhibition follows on from the massive success of artists such as Yayoi Kusama and her obliteration rooms, Shoplifter’s Nervescape V (2016) as part of Sugar Spin at QAGOMA and the interactive juggernaut Van Gogh Alive.

While die hard art buffs may shy away from the popularity of exhibitions such as Soft Touch, Vine’s ‘touch’ is as serious as it is fun. Encouraging play, embracing materials, offering inclusivity and expanding the offering of the traditional museum, this exhibition is the big, fat hug we all need right now.

Michelle Vine, Soft Touch
Caboolture Regional Art Gallery

Free entry

Soft Touch will be on display until 29 January 2022

Bree Di Mattina is an arts writer and PhD Candidate living in Meanjin/Brisbane. Her interests include fibre and textile art, craft, Feminist art and contemporary Australian art.