The role of touch in emotional expression is clear. A hug, a high-five, a caress can all convey feeling and help relieve stress or pain. The sensations of touch can also play an important role in the creative process of some artists, in particular artists who are hearing or sight impaired or acutely sensitive to touch.
As part of our series on the skin, swissnex San Francisco invites the public to learn more about the close relationship between touch and the emotion through the lens of artist JudithScott, who was deaf and mute yet produced an impressive body of work over 20 years at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California.
The short film "Judith Scott's Magic Cocoons" will be screened along with presentations from experts including Sandra Weiss, professor at UCSF and co-editor of "The Handbook of Touch: Neuroscience, Behavioral and Health Perspectives," who explains the physiological pathways behind the benefits of touch.
This event is a collaboration with the Collection de l'Art Brut (Lausanne, Switzerland).
Tony Di Maria
Tom di Maria has been Creative Growth Art Center's director since 2000. Prior to this position, he served as Assistant Director of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, at UC Berkeley. He has worked as the Executive Director of FRAMELINE, and as Director of Development and Marketing at the San Francisco Film Society. He holds a B.F.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology and a M.F.A. from Maryland Institute, College of Art, in film and photography. Tom is also an award-winning filmmaker, with short film awards from Sundance, Black Maria, Sinking Creek, National Educational Media, and New York Experimental film festivals.
Art historian Sarah Lombardi took over as director of the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland, in March 2013. As curator, research associate, and interim at the museum over an eight-year period, she coordinated numerous exhibitions for the museum, in Switzerland and abroad.
From 2001 to 2003, Lombardi served as exhibition coordinator for the Foundation for Therapeutic Art and Art Brut in Montreal (Quebec) and, in 2001, taught French-Swiss literature at the University of Montreal.
As an independent exhibition curator (Montreal, New York, Lausanne, Brussels), she co-authored Richard Greaves, Anarchitect (publ. Milan/Montreal, 5 Continents Editions/Société des arts indisciplinés, 2005), and penned countless articles on Art Brut in various exhibition catalogues and specialized reviews.
Sandra J. Weiss, PhD, DNSc, FAAN is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Systems and the Robert C. & Delphine Wentland Eschbach Endowed Chair at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Weiss has studied the phenomenon of touch as a primary area of research for 30 years. During this time, she has examined specific neurophysiologic and affective properties of touch and has developed measures of both touch behavior and response to touch that have been used in research internationally. Her major focus has been parental touch and its impact on the neuropsychological development and mental health of high-risk infants and children. She has also studied different properties of touch used by health professionals in hospital environments and their impact on the health outcomes of medically compromised children and adults.
Dr. Weiss is currently studying the ways in which genetic, neuroendocrine, and autonomic nervous system factors influence the sensitivity of infants to touch. She is also studying the ways in which caregiver touch affects both the emotional and physiologic responses of infants. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Bureau of Health Services Administration, the State of California, and a variety of private foundations. Her work on touch has been covered by CNN, CBS and ABC as part of programs on 'The Senses', 'Discoveries in Medical Science', and 'Medical Advances.' In addition to numerous other publications about touch, she is co-editor of a recent book entitled 'The Handbook of Touch: Neuroscience, Behavioral and Health Perspectives'.
Tom Di Maria, Creative Growth Center Director, discusses the importance of touch and tactile sensation in the work of Judith Scott. Scott was renowned for her intricate fiber art at the Creative Growth Center.