Is there anybody actually there? or is that just a blot on the landscape?





In was in pursuit of researching artist’s who used automatism to express themselves,  I came across Austin Osman Spare (see   page 4 altered book: a matter of Life or Death‘) .  Following  Breton’s and Ernst’s lead, several artist’s applied automatic techniques to produce works.  Andre Masson forced himself to work under the influence of drugs, lack of food or sleep.







Alexander Cozens, an English watercolourist stimulated his imagination by using accidental blobs on paper to suggest abstract forms. 







British housewife Madge Gill (1882 -1961) became interested in spiritualism when two of her children died tragically, and she lost an eye through illness.  From 1919 she produced hundreds of ink drawings whilst in a trance like state – directed by her spirit guide Myrninerest.  Her drawings ranged from postcard size to 20 ft wide.  Her  work  included ‘spiritual or inspirational’ drawings, writings and singing, inspired piano playing, making knitted woollen clothes and weaving silk mats.







British painter Georgina Houghton gave up conventional art because of grief at the death of her sister, and began to produce ‘spirit drawings’ using coloured pencils, watercolours and inks.  Examples of her works are preserved in the Victorian Spiritualists Union in Melbourne.  They feature all over dynamic linear meshes of coloured spirels, vortexes and arabesques in which figure and ground are indistiguishable.  They have been claimed as the earliest abstract pictures.

I really must get back to my altered book.  It’s more difficult now my scanner has broken though, photographs are very hit and miss.


One Response to “Is there anybody actually there? or is that just a blot on the landscape?”

  1. […] a lot of ink drawings whilst in a trance like state among other works like knitted objects (see this post).  Austin Osman Spare also used automatic techniques to produce spontaneous work. Austin Osman […]

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