Drawing as stimming looks to create a time where stimming can happen, through drawing and in response to artworks in the gallery setting, or online in response to art collections. Drawing as Stimming seeks to explore how drawing and mark making can support non-verbal interpretation of artworks, whilst also enabling safe spaces to stimm.
Often stimming is viewed negatively because it is seen when an autistic child or adult is overwhelmed by sensory information. But importantly it can also be positive and part of a sensory seeking journey where the child or adult is responding to interesting sensory stimulus. My work looks to legitimize non-verbal communication such as stimming and to find a place for it within art making and art interpretation.
I am interested in redefining the sense of ‘purpose’ in the work of autistic and neurodivergent artists that is not led by neurotypical assumptions of purpose; but instead comes from the artists themselves and/or wider understanding of alternative forms of communication. Criticism in art history often (necessarily) categorizes artworks by exploring the teleology of the works, finding endpoints, decision-making, reflecting on the oeuvre of the artist thus defining what the work is and represents. I am working with Necessity to explore the notion of embodied communication as a defining purpose in art making and to reflect on what this might mean for autistic and neurodivergent artists.
This work would move beyond phenomenological readings of minimalism in the 60s, and instead consider recreating ‘process’ as interpretation, embodied communication as criticism, and explore new categories of criticism through praxis.
I want to find out if interpretation and criticism can also be non-verbal and am adamant that art created by autistic people is interpreted in a way that coincides with a value system that recognizes difference, that upholds ‘Outsider Art’ biographies and that legitimizes ‘Outsider Artists’ biographies (and recognizes that Outsider is a contested term). I would like to research the efficacy of interpretation that values phenomenological descriptive interpretation as something more than just description; but draws focus to the embodied process of making. I would like to question interpretation that relies wholly on the often-prejudiced lens and views of carers, support workers and family members. I would like to draw reference from my current work with autistic and neurodivergent artists to coproduce interpretation in alternative forms to help guide me in this research.
A much wider outcome of the work supported by this grant is the aim of expanding what research is and what it looks like, and in particular what autistic research in the context of art and art history might look like. Recognition here must be made for the still emergent process of ‘practice as research’ which seeks to break the dichotomy between creative outputs and research. My research will therefore be written, performed, drawn, filmed or crafted, or take the form of combinations of these practices.