Mimesis and the somatic of drawing : in the context of 20th century western fine art practice
The research question asks whether mimesis is evident in the actions made by artists during the drawing process. To address this issue, the research has pursued inquiries into the nature of mimesis; the development and mechanics of human movement in relation to the actions used to execute a drawing; artist's attitudes towards drawing actions; understandings of creativity and the meaning of gesture. The research process included reference to literature from the fields of psychology, philosophy, cognition, creativity and motor control? The methodology used theories of emergence, discourse analysis, and fine art research. The research involved comparing the differences between observed data gathered from footage of artists at work and anecdotal evidence located in texts by artists. It included reference to mimesis as affecting world views, in a way which causes the meanings in discourse, text and images to shift, and thus challenges the role of the researcher. This research revealed that historic notions of technical skill and the traditions of expertise found within guild culture have influenced debates in the fine art sector concerning drawing. This may have attached connotations to the role of the body in the drawing process, which have influenced the way that artists perceived their drawing actions. The paradigm surrounding drawing actions was also found to be influenced by the transactional nature of mimesis, which is treated as a form of imitation that transforms experience through reinvention. In this manifestation, mimesis is also in the psychophysiology of motoric behaviour as well as in the conversion of experience into narrative. The research revealed that drawing heuristics share common features with the acquisition of other forms of physical expertise, in that the repetition of drawing movements over an extended period embeds action sequences, which then become intuitive, enabling artists to articulate drawing techniques whilst planning a drawing. It was further found that the artists surveyed in this study portrayed skilful drawing actions as both the embodiment of tacit knowledge and of importance to creative strategising. The research concluded with a discussion of the ways in which mimesis occurs in drawing actions as the drawer transverses the studio, moving between the roles of viewer, by contemplating the drawing from different perspectives; of actor, by physically or mentally rehearsing the experience of being a mobile entity in the environment and of artist, by reinventing that experience.