In art, there are a lot of different genres and mediums. They can all create different results in mood and interpretations from a viewer experiencing them. I propose the idea that when it comes to the healing powers of art when viewing it nature and landscape photography is the best option out there for a positive distraction from what a viewer might otherwise be focused on.
Creating a positive distraction from reality of a situation is a basic goal of art in a healthcare setting. If you are looking to bring a sense of peace to a room that otherwise might have tension, art can help to alleviate these feelings if done with sensitivity. If not done properly though the idea can be lost in the communication in art. As a photographer, I have learned a lot about mood and how it affects images and more importantly the person viewing the image.
When considering art for a room it is important to choose pieces that fit the mood and objective of the room. Playing off the positive distraction of an art piece it should not make a person feel anxious. Colors that can create this negative feeling include brighter and more aggressive reds, orange, and yellow. There are scenes in nature that play well though as waterfalls tend to be of a cooler blue hue and the foliage around them of various tones of green can balance a room nicely. This feeling of peace and balance can help to create that positive distraction
Speaking of balance, the compositions of art should be. This means they should follow some simple rules in art that help to make it not feel on edge or like the image is confusing. A good example of something to avoid here is where the subject of an image is in a corner or too far to a side. Centered compositions can also create issues if they feel too direct and confronting. Simplicity is important here along with art that places subjects and key elements in obvious places like on thirds or follows the golden ratio. Make sure the print makes sense in the placement within the room as well and not askew at an angle creating tension.
I like to think nature and landscape is the ultimate form of meditative art as well. This is because it links us backward in an evolutionary sense to a simpler time in humanity’s past. If you see a scene in nature filled with healthy plants and flowing water it can create a feeling of peace and plenty. All of this helps to create a meditative viewing experience for a viewer offering a temporary distraction from reality.
Abstract art has been a popular choice in many medical care facilities in recent years. When you look at how it impacts a viewer and doesn’t fit the theme of healing a viewer that is stressed or struggling in some other way mentally. Contemporary pieces often depict a perception of reality rather than a more accurate depiction of it which can create a level of complexity and confusion not ideal for this setting. Remember, the focus of the art here is to create a feeling of balance, simplicity, and peace.
When it comes to landscape art in healthcare it is easy to see how connecting the right mood can be effective in mediating an otherwise stressful situation. I would like to close on a study I have seen referenced when discussing how looking at different scenes impacts their perception of pain. This is one done by Dr. Roger Ulrich where he found that patients ended up taking less pain medication after viewing nature through a window compared to patients who looked at a brick wall after a gall bladder surgery and went home on average a day earlier. This shows some solid research that is done in a relatively controlled experiment with promising results! Be careful when selecting art for every situation because it can have an impact on the viewer and how they feel, and if your goal is to have a specific effect there are proven formulas to success.