Between 1994 and 1998, the artist Claude Heath, wearing a blindfold, drew a range of personally selected objects, including a woodcarving, orange peel, and a plaster bust, by exploring their physical characteristics with his left hand and committing to the sheet of paper a corresponding series of marks (e.g., see Figure 5.1 ). These drawings collectively sought to provide an account of the object that was given entirely through the contingencies of touch rather than through the dictates of vision. Ostensibly, Heath’s enquiry was foregrounded by the desire to, as it were, not look

While seemingly rejecting the primacy of the visual as a means of enabling empirical data to be mapped, Heath’s drawings nevertheless remain steadfast in their ambition to articulate the outward appearance and overarching form of the objects he selects. To this end, and despite the semi-abstract confi gurations he produces that would appear to work against this claim, Heath’s drawings remain “in the domain of [visual] representation” to the extent that the artist is seeking to elucidate a certain truth with regards to the physical appearance of the objects he selects. 3

In order to understand what motivates an artist to not look during the production of, in this case, a series of drawings, this chapter will fi rst examine an antecedent example whereby other artists adopted another comparably

novel approach to picture making. To this end, the place and signifi cance of automatism within Surrealism will be considered as an example of a process of image making wherein form is intuited rather than directly observed. From this point, and having also considered the place of expression within a particular discourse that pertained to drawing during the nineteenth century, the aim of this chapter is to consider Heath’s Blindfold drawings with respect to the implications they have for both artistic agency and how the drawings themselves might be interpreted.