Imagining Truth: The Role of Drawing Within the Creation of Knowledge

Doris Rohr

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    The relationship between concept and perception is crucial in accessing the multi-dimensionality of drawing as a canon of visual languages. Modernity has raised questions about authorship in the creative process. A section of this paper investigates the use of the term ready-made and of the term sub-conscious in relation to drawing and mark making. Within this the “doodle” takes a special place, as an activity, which is practised across specially trained artists and designers and the uninitiated layperson alike. Within this a distinction is sought between sketch, doodle, and diagram. Diagrams are closer to materialisation or objectification than the doodle, or the sketch, due to their anchorage in accepted systems of representation of knowledge. The drawn visual diagram facilitates data comparison used by a community of specialists. Scientific drawing is objectifying, as it employs constant and replicable methods of visualisation. A concluding section is paying particular attention to the presumably different function of drawing in contemporary concept-led fine art, and why this should warrant a separate category of address: Deanna Petherbridge points out that contemporary fine artists refuse to conform to demands of universally intelligible visual production. She holds responsible post-modern and post-structuralist relativist positions for contemporary artist’s distrust in universal truth. The paper further examines the rift between concept-led and other forms of drawing due the philosophical underpinning of much contemporary visual art. Conceptually informed contemporary fine art drawing often tends to obscure rather than simplify meaning. If here drawing complicates meaning rather than contributes to universal intelligibility or ease of communication, is objectivity confined to the uses of diagram and computations of science? Do the latter than form a different category of drawing? And is the function of drawing in science an illustrative one rather than a creative one?
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherLoughborough University
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - May 2012


    • drawing research
    • knowledge production
    • science art


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