Drawing: Knowledge as Process

Laura Donkers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Vision is central to our experience of and interactions with the world around us, but the experience of seeing as if through a frame can lead us to conceive what we see as a representation. With the dominance of the screen which mediates so much of our contemporary looking we reduce reality to what can be represented and enjoyed from a fixed vantage point and forget that we have bodies that move and how our perspective changes with every move that we make. In Action in Perception, Alva Noë states that “the content of perception is not like the content of a picture” and proposes that “to perceive is not merely to have sensation, or to receive sensory impressions, it is to have sensations that one understands”.

My process of drawing does not seek to create pictures of my seeing but is about finding a way to really see what I’m looking at. A face-to-face encounter with the substance of place, and how I adjust my gaze, and my perspective, only when I am caught up subconsciously in the action of ‘coming to see’: A blind engagement that gains sight as the drawing progresses.
‘Seeing, according to Aristotle, is a process whereby the form of an object but not its matter enters into the eye.’
Perhaps ‘seeing form’ but not ‘feeling matter’ is where the separation occurs?
In an attempt to unify these senses, I employ frottage. This method defies the analytical mind and allows drawn, responsive marks to emerge through the intra-action of my contact with the surface of the subject and the apparatus of drawing. The frottage process turns haptic encounter into a visual realm through encounter with the world-as-it-is, using touch to guide what comes to be seen, in counterpoint to the ‘pictoral turn’.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2018
EventThe Embodied Experience of Drawing Symposium - Ocean Studios, Plymouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Apr 2018 → …


ConferenceThe Embodied Experience of Drawing Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period13/04/18 → …
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