This issue explores how drawing has been used by artists to record and represent unconscious or invisible forces that go undetected by the senses. Other topics include the reception of Anthony Van Dyck’s work in France, the sexual imagery in the early work of John Everett Millais, and Allan Sekula’s realist critique of postmodernism in Fish Story.
The graphic trace is a hybrid type of representation: it takes from the index a registration of something unique – an impress of an individual – while incorporating the diagram’s abstraction from what is immediately given in perception. The graphic trace in art is explored here in relation to the index and the diagram through the work of several modern and contemporary artists.
A celebrated sequence of slow-motion footage of Matisse’s working hand fascinated philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. This paper explores how their analyses figure broader tensions between phenomenology and psychoanalysis, and how this bears upon interpretations of drawings by Matisse and of the graphic trace in the work of Mary Kelly and Susan Morris.
Examining the idea of being ‘machine-like’ and its impact on the practice of automatic writing, this article charts a history of automatism from the late nineteenth century to the present day, exploring the intersections between physiology, psychology, poetry and art.
This article considers the relationship between drawing and sound in the work of American artist Trisha Donnelly (born 1974). Against recent theories of the demise of individual media, Donnelly’s work is seen to indicate a more complex set of cross-modal and inter-medial relationships.
Susan Morris approaches the subject of involuntary drawing from the point of view of an artist trying to make a visual record of that which escapes or exceeds deliberate action or conscious intention. In this paper Morris discusses her own work in the context of a wider consideration of the theme, which touches on the work of other artists as well as the writing of psychoanalysts, philosophers and art historians.
Examining Anthony Van Dyck’s reputation in France from his death in 1641 to the opening of the Musée du Louvre in 1793, this paper charts the public reception of his work and his influence on later generations of French painters.
This article examines the sexual imagery of particular paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais. It argues that criticism has overlooked the sophisticated poetry of the body in Millais’s art, its synthetic approach to gender, and its precocious place in a wider Aesthetic and symbolist visual and literary tradition.
Bill Roberts argues that Fish Story 1989–95 by the photographer and theorist Allan Sekula expresses a shift from a culture of postmodernism to one of globalism and reflects the artist’s effort to renew realist art in the wake of the postmodern culture of the 1980s.