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  • Writer's pictureEmma Ford

Virtual Galleries Session

As a group we were asked to think about three questions in relation to the use of virtual galleries during the pandemic.

How does viewing in a virtual space affect your behaviour and attitude to the work on display?

The group came up with these responses:

  • Some people don't like the experience of viewing art online, from home and find it difficult to focus on the work.

  • You lose the atmosphere of being around other people

  • Some virtual spaces are counter intuitive and it is usually better to look at the artist's own social media galleries.

  • Virtual spaces can lack engagement and can be impersonal.

I think these are all valid points and it raises some further interesting thoughts, but I also think that viewing art in a virtual space also means we are less likely to be swayed by other people's opinions that are openly voiced in galleries before we can make our own observations or form our own opinions about a piece. Viewing a piece of work in your own virtual space allows more time to form your own ideas before discussing it with the peer group.

How might the presentation of art on the internet open up the making and consumption of work?

  • People who might not normally visit a real gallery might be more willing to access online galleries

  • People can view art in their own time, and don't need to plan days or weekends to visit galleries in far off places.

  • Art can reach wider audiences without the need for people to travel, virtual galleries mean we can view galleries all over the world without having to leave home.

I would hope that there will be less art snobbery around virtual galleries and that there will be a wider variety of art on display, rather than galleries only showing "big names" or specific mediums and styles due to having limited space in their buildings. I hope it opens art up to less experienced artists and makes art more accessible in general.

How can you develop your own strategies to viewing online that you can take forward?

I know some artists like to work within a gallery space when preparing for an exhibition and to make work specific to a space but as an illustrator and digital artist, I am not constrained by the need to display work in a physical space. I am comfortable with displaying art online anyway, but I would like to look at better curating my galleries and adding video and intuitive UI's to a gallery space. I don't tend to look at virtual exhibitions from real galleries because their UIs tend to be difficult or janky and generally uninspiring, but I do find online galleries like ArtStation useful to see work by artists within my discipline.

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