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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 alsoAbstract Expressionism, action painting, Surrealism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on automatism, visit Britannica.com.