I’ve always been a gallery person. I’m not sure whether it’s the appeal of a large, white-walled building, full of art; or just that the viewer is one with their thoughts while being embraced by beautiful artwork. After the visit to Wellington City Gallery, certain parts of the experience stuck out to me. While observing Cindy Sherman’s “Chanel” collection; I briefly sat on a seat at the back of the exhibit. It was at this moment that I looked at the other student’s reflecting on the art in front of them.

Figure 1: Back of the “Chanel” Exhibit. Personal Photograph by Author, 9 March 2017. 

This lead me to consider the purpose of local galleries. In my opinion, they act as links, connecting like-minded people, encouraging us to communicate with each other about the work in front of us. Intertwining different generations through the visual world. In Nicholas Mirzeoff’s book “How to See the World” he stated, “We feel compelled to make images … and share them to others as a key part of our effort to understand the changing world around us and our place in it” (Mirzoeff, 6). This subsequently made me realise how heavily we are influenced by art. By communicating to us through artwork on gallery walls, the visual world often makes us reflect on ourselves. Although talking to someone else can influence our own ideas, we can often gain a new perspective. I think that by opening ourselves up to the influence of the visual world, we can become more critical in our everyday lives. By scrutinising work to understand the artist purpose, we begin to normalise the action of investigating imagery and take this to the real world. One person may see a painting through a completely different lens than you because of what’s happening in their life, experiences they’ve endured or different cultures that have influenced them. After watching “How to Talk about Art – A Beginners Guide” I began to understand the many layers of analysis we can delve into. By taking more time viewing art, “questioning based on what’s “beyond” the work” (Jordana Zeldin, Skill Share) and even interacting with a gallery space we can get more insight to an artist creative flow. Although some claim “we’re not looking at works of art for long enough” (Isaac Kaplan, Artsy Editorial) art is one of the things that makes us slow down in our busy lives.

Having considered these ideas I now believe I will take more away from art exhibitions. I have learned that talking to those around you about what they say is just as important since they may shed light on an aspect you didn’t even notice. This knowledge is crucial to many students, galley-visitors and art-lovers alike. If I were to change my experience at the city gallery I would talk to more people about their perceptions of Sherman’s photographs. I believe the visual world communicates to each of us in different ways through art, giving us our own interpretations. By interacting with each other, we expand past our own ideas and connect with others through art and design. To me by connecting to those around us and sharing ideas on a topic we’re passionate about, we are truly communicating with the visual world.

Cited Work List:

Kaplan, Isaac. “How Long Do You Need to Look at a Work of Art to Get It?” Artsy, 26 Jan 2017,

Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “Introduction”. How to See the World. UK, Penguin. 2015, 1-27.

Zeldin, Jordana. “How to Talk About Art: A Beginner’s Guide” Skill Share,  December 2016,   


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