Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 359–373 | Cite as

Seeing the Unseen: Pastoral Insights Drawn from James Turrell’s Artwork



According to Charles Sanders Peirce’s framework of semiotics, an individual’s life can be regarded as a work of art that as a sign continuously generates meaning by using various life experiences as its art materials. Here the individual plays a role both as an artist and as a viewer of his or her life. This semiotic implication of one’s life reshapes the general goal and function of pastoral care and counseling. In terms of art, the pastoral caregiver’s role is defined as that of a curator who facilitates the overall environment for aesthetic experience by helping an individual to see the unseen in his or her life as a work of art and does so in a didactic but unobtrusive way. As an example, a series of James Turrell’s art installations suggests how the role and function of the pastoral caretaker can be redefined. This aesthetic perspective also reflects the existential and psychospiritual dimensions of pastoral care and counseling.


Pastoral care Aesthetic experience Artwork Sign Curation James Turrell 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seoul Women’s UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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