Method of painting or drawing in which conscious control over the movement of the hand is suppressed so that the subconscious mind may take over. For some Abstract Expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock, the automatic process encompassed the entire process of composition. The Surrealists, having once achieved an interesting image or form by automatic or chance means, exploited the technique with fully conscious purpose. See also Abstract Expressionism, action painting, Surrealism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on automatism, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up automatism? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.