“Psychic automatism in its pure state,” is how André Breton defined Surrealism. Automatic drawing is a method used by artists to reveal the subconscious in their work; putting a pen to paper one moves their hand freely, randomly and without conscious intention. With time, images emerge and eventually elements of an internal world are perceived.
Throughout his entire six-decade career a key part of Stanley Hayter’s studio routine was to begin each day by making a number of these free-flowing drawings. Like an athlete, in an effort to get the body aligned, he would sketch and draw often without lifting the pen from the paper. Untitled (1944) is an extremely fine example of Hayter’s masterful use of automatism; his ability to move and react, knowing when to leave good enough alone takes a special kind of wisdom that can only come through complete devotion.