talks & texts
talks & texts
Visual Futures through International Perspectives/McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology/University of Toronto (CA)/25-26 May, 2018
Abstract: Seeing (more or less): Drawing as Perceptual Engagement with the 'Visible'
A drawing is an account of vision—fashioned out of subtle traces of perception. To draw, one reaches after sight, collaborates with touch, and knits its record from fragments of sensation and imagination. I have always had an effortless facility for drawing, yet only recently realise that I am more intrigued by the fact of drawing—as sensory adventure, as perceiving imagination made manifest—than in cultivating an identity as 'artist'. I'm fascinated by alterations to the project of looking which are necessitated within drawing; adaptations that present as reconfigurations of vision itself (in-sight). A successful drawing discloses from purposeful digressions, which liberate vision from the routines of seeing. Such success depends not so much on faithful reproduction of externals, but rather on how the drawing chronicles a perceptual journey. Drawing stumbles when preconception eclipses authentic vision; the perceptual journey falters if one only seeks to find what was already expected. Skill in drawing remains largely misunderstood—it lies not with some mystery of inherent talent, but with an ability and willingness to continually look to the world with 'fresh eyes'.
Drawing is an exercise that keeps the muscles of perception and imagination limber, and herein lies the primary reason for its enduring relevance. From it, one learns to withhold assumption from observation, through specific strategies that modify how vision is applied. One looks, locates, holds in mind some dissected aspect of perception—then the hand marks impressions of this recollected data onto awaiting surface. Between the eye's outward glance and the trace of the hand on the page, there is (always) the agency of imagination—regardless of whether ostensible subject is observed or invented. These rhythms of looking, imagining, and marking accrue to construct a drawing's expressive statement. Such adjustments in perception open onto the margins of attention, where we encounter the latent, the liminal, the subtle trace, the illusions and occlusions that glance off and around our everyday gaze. Drawing allows for the flicker of perception to engage and extend into externalized conversation with interior imagination. Thus, possibilities of what is discerned shift and expand, as vision expounds pictorially, within a discourse that can bypass our reflex for verbal translation.
Drawing—as distinctly accessible embodied practice—allows for transient emanations to unfold beside the more dominant perceptual particulars of waking life. There is always more available to potential perception than can be derived from each fleeting moment of visual sensation. Working from understandings arrived at through drawing praxis, I've come to understand that such traces disclose as an image-to-image mode of cognition. In order to draw, one must apply certain tactical methods to the sense of sight—literal changes of 'outlook'—to appraise the unique atmosphere of a visual field. Hence, drawing reveals qualities in perception, beyond the recognizable content apparent on its surface. Within the processes of looking-for-drawing, visual encounter supersedes habits of seeing, and discloses from meaningful meanderings and discursive applications of sight. Drawing allows the maker to find out how the world appears to the self, and to bring such idiosyncratic documentation of perception into dialogue with larger communities of individual interpreting imaginative selves (i.e., an audience).
Image as Vortex: An Interdisciplinary Conference/The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology/University of Oxford, 18th June 2016
Abstract: Drawing out (of) the Image
My research engages the practice of drawing, and focuses, in particular, on the disposition of perception assumed for drawing. Here possibilities of what becomes discerned and disclosed into the visible shift and expand, as the attitude of seeing accessed in drawing is a reconfiguration of vision itself (in-sight)—allowing for discourse expounded through imagery alone, bypassing the reflex to first translate as verbal interpretation while comprehending visual information. When artistic image becomes transposed into secondary expression through text or reproductive print, it loses its force of immediacy (Ehrenzweig’s ‘hidden order’). The work of art can reverberate effect/affect over years, decades, centuries, because such imagery endures as originary act of imagination, an act that remains alive to ensuing imaginative encounter (Crowther’s notion of ‘presencing’).
The view to drawing opens onto intervals at the peripheries of the visual field: dormant agents of perception, subtleties of reflection, borders of sleep and dreams, the auras and occlusions that flicker across the gaze of everyday imagination. Seeking the image through drawing cultivates an ability to withhold assumptions of cognition; composing a response that refuses to find conclusion in preconception. A drawing’s success depends not on faithful reproduction of external reality, but rather upon how it chronicles a perceptual journey of imagination.
This paper examines specific image-to-image conversations carried on in direct contact with original artworks of the Renaissance (Florence and Siena), as revealed in sketchbook practice carried out by the author. Findings are discussed in reference to the ideas of Paul Crowther, Anton Ehrenzweig, James Hillman and Gaston Bachelard. Through the visual cognition derived by drawing, an understanding of image is achieved by means of visual interrogations that amplify the primary utterance of original imagery-- leading to new and further visual dialogues with the image’s initial and embodied impact.
Drawing in the University Today, University of Oporto, Portugal 2013
SEEING MORE OR LESS: DRAWING AS DISPOSITION OF PERCEPTION
This paper considers the practice of drawing in its capacity to apprehend and articulate from the unexpected edges of the visual field/the perceptual world. Drawing is a sleight-of-hand that registers and interprets through layers of vision - shifting regard between the perceived/percept and the imagined/image. In ordinary perception, the disposition of sight is oriented towards expectation. It is a visual regime that reinforces “what meets the eye” (or the “I”). But the view towards drawing allows for reception of other data - a perception that un-enforces to expand or distill apprehension: to allow us to see more, or less than what meets the eye.
This different disposition of perception accessed while drawing is a reconfiguration of vision itself (in-sight), and therefore a reconfiguration of thought processes - where we can come to see and to know otherwise. Drawing can open onto intervals at the peripheries of vision, onto dormant agents of perception – the subtleties of reflection, the borders of sleep and dreams, the auras and occlusions that flicker across our gaze and our imagination everyday. The observant draughtsman cultivates the ability to withhold aspects of cognition and recognition from perception, therefore purposely refusing to seek conclusion in preconception.
By tracking and recording glimpses into the ephemeral, drawing can reveal a fuller accounting of the embodied life. New views, re-presentations, accidental revelation (from unconscious or unintentional) can expand the scope of knowledge. The success of a drawing’s communication depends not on faithful construction of external reality, but on whether it chronicles the draughtsman’s journey into some otherness of perception.
Works of select artists, historical and contemporary (William Kentridge, Antonio Lopez-Garcia, Louise Bourgeois, Paula Rego) as well as the author’s own research – are referenced and addressed in light of these themes.
The Eye's Mind: Visual Imagination, Neuroscience & the Humanities/ Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, University of East Anglia/Norwich, 21-22 May 2016
Abstract (Poster): See for Yourself/Drawing as Application of Perception
The process of drawing requires adaptation in the disposition of perception—an alteration that can reveal and recount aspects from the visual field beyond ostensible subject. Thus drawing is a tangible, tactile demonstration of diverse possibility within our enactments of sight. Drawing adjusts—even slows—the sensory process of seeing, allowing contemplation and expression of other trace visual data, hence reflecting both exterior and interior experiences of vision. As acquired expressive skill, drawing traditionally coalesces around specified rules which urge discrete and circumscribed projects in looking—aids for creating a record of resemblance or ‘representation’. Regardless of subject or degree of realism, such shifts within the exercise of sight permit subtler perceptual ingredients to become discernable—enabled by these views toward drawing. It is likely that transcriptional processes like drawing evolved from perceptual promptings discerned along other subtle pathways of the sensory. Transient emanations unfold beside dominant inputs of waking visual life; emanations not solely confined to access through visual art practices. Dreams, imagination, reverie and other fluctuations within our nervous system are all manifestations of embodied perception. There is always more available than can be extracted from each fleeting temporal moment—remaining unnoted unless another understanding of vision is brought to bear. My research uses drawing practice to explore its capacity to document the unexpected edges of the visual field and perceptual world. In tracking and recording glimpses of such ephemera, the observational and notational practice of drawing can disclose a fuller accounting of vision incarnate.
Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice. Vol. 1, Number 1, Intellect Journals, Jan. 2016 (Adriana Ionascu & Doris Rohr, ed.)
See for Yourself: Drawing (Out) the Interiors of Vision
The practice of drawing can apprehend and articulate from the unexpected edges of the visual field and perceptual world—even as the draughtsman seeks to record from ostensibly straightforward observations. Drawing is a sleight-of-hand that registers and interprets through layers of vision - shifting regard between what is perceived and what is imagined, between the percept and the image. In ordinary perception, the disposition of sight is oriented towards expectation, in a visual regime that reinforces “what meets the eye” (rather than the “I”). Yet the view towards drawing allows for reception of other data - a perception that un-enforces to expand or distill apprehension: to allow us to see more, or less than what meets the eye. Even the established techniques that inform the Western traditions of drawing—as an acquired expressive skill—coalesce around specified rules that direct us to alter the pose and project of vision; isolating our look to contour, value, negative spaces and so on. From such discrete and reconfigured repositions in seeing, ‘honest’ representations of observation may become recognised and recorded. But what constitutes a measurement of such honesty of sight? Too often, the strategies of looking for drawing are applied to merely achieve mimicry of expectations of perception. If limited thus, we neglect to ‘see’ how drawing can open onto intervals at the peripheries of vision, onto dormant agents of perception: the subtleties of reflection, the borders of sleep and dreams, the auras and occlusions that flicker across our gaze and our imagination everyday. An observant artist cultivates the ability to withhold aspects of cognition and recognition from perception, therefore purposely – in drawing – cultivates the capacity to withhold conclusion based upon preconception. Thus by tracking and recording glimpses into the ephemeral, drawing discloses a fuller account of embodied life.
Drawing Cogs: The Case for Drawing
Thinking through Drawing Interview/ November 2013
PhD/University of the West of England, Bristol, 2015
Out of the Corner of the Eye/ the "I"Drawing as Disposition of Perception
This research examines drawing practice in its impacts on and through perception, by elaborating on drawing’s capacity to record elements of the interior experience of vision. Particular focus is directed towards drawing’s potential to grasp and recount something of perception—over and above the nominal subject matter reproduced and immediately apparent on its surface. It is established that the study and construction of drawing—as acquired expressive skill—coalesces around specific rules that reposition the reception and application of visual data, and it is this repositioning that allows for the ‘honest’ representation of the seen to be recorded as result. The aim of this research is to consider what additional aspects of perception can become discerned and revealed into the visible, within both process and enduring artefact of drawing. There are subtle and transient emanations unfolding along side more dominant perceptual inputs of waking visual life; emanations not confined to perception and accounting through drawing. These take form as dreams, imagination, reverie and/or other fluctuations within the nervous system, and are all manifestations within the range of the bodily perception. There is always more available than can be extracted from the flash of each temporal moment—remaining unnoted unless some adaptive mode in the posture of looking is brought to bear. This study proposes and demonstrates that drawing adjusts, and even slows, the sensory process of seeing, so that it is possible to absorb and convey other traces elements of the visual into exterior clarification.
Though this project commenced in the stated intention of applying drawing in conversation with sleep and dreaming life, such oneiric interests were not driven by concern for psychological analysis of dream content – but rather from curiosity around the mechanisms of image generation and whether such generative processes within dreaming correspond to diurnal image-based constructions—like drawing. Even sleep itself, as ephemeral yet ordinary event in embodied existence, may correspond to potent gaps and intervals that animate the more tangible portrayals of the fabricated worlds of drawing. It is possible—even likely—that the transcriptive activity of drawing evolves from the perceptual promptings of other subtle pathways within vision. The content interest of this practice-as-research has since broadened to embrace and regard how adaptations in application of perception, specific to and requisite for drawing, are themselves a modality of perception that serves to shift attention away from more normative receptive strategies in approach to the visual field. This act of reconfiguration affords an expanded reflection on the observable, and it is this expanded sensibility that is investigated and chronicled here through drawing practice. The other sensory events documented by drawing within this study include visual indications from organic hallucinatory source—as in migraine aura and occlusions—along with traces of visual memory, imagination and dreaming. Such inputs edge into consciousness from the further reaches of the temporal frontier – or from what philosopher Paul Crowther calls the ‘spatio-temporal elsewhere’. Through drawing practice, the research establishes how unseen or barely seen phenomena can be rendered perceivable through drawing—from both the activity and as a resultant trace. It is this awareness of extra-visual elements that is central to my practice and this research – documented from an experience that these factors only surfaced into realization through the altered dispositions or postures of looking within operations like that of drawing.
Thinking through Drawing Symposium & DRN Conference/Interweavings: 3rd International Conference on Drawing, Cognition and Education, Columbia University, NYC/2013
PAPER & PRESENTATION: Seeing More or Less/Drawing’s Disposition of Perception.
This paper considers drawing’s capacity to articulate from unexpected edges of the visual field. Drawing interprets through layers of vision - shifting regard between the perceived/percept and the imagined/image. Within ordinary perception, the disposition of sight is oriented towards expectation. It is a visual regime that reinforces “what meets the eye” (or the “I”). The view to drawing allows for reception of other perceptions that un-enforce to expand or distill - to see more or less than what meets the eye.
The disposition of perception accessed in drawing is a reconfiguration of vision itself (in-sight), and a reconfiguration of thought processes. Drawing can open onto intervals at the peripheries of vision, onto dormant precincts of perception: subtleties of reflection, borders of sleep and dreams, or auras and occlusions that flicker across our gaze and our imagination everyday. The observant draughtsman cultivates the ability to withhold aspects of cognition within perception, therefore purposely refusing to seek conclusion from preconception. In acknowledging glimpses of the ephemeral, drawing reveals a fuller accounting of embodied life. The success of a drawing’s communication depends not on faithful construction of external reality, but on whether it chronicles the draughtsman’s journey into some other moments of perception.