My Brain is My Inkstand

Drawing as Thinking and Process

My Brain Is in My Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process is an exhibition debuting at the Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, that brings together 22 artists from around the world to redefine the notion of drawing as a thinking process in the arts and sciences alike. Sketches on paper are the first materialized traces of an idea, but they are also an instrument that makes a meandering thought concrete.

Inspired by the accompanying exhibition The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot, the exhibition uses multiple sources to show how drawings reveal the interdependency of mark-making and thinking. It brings together artists and scientists, basketball coaches and skateboarders, biologists and Native Americans to show how tracing lines is a prerequisite for all mental activity.

Featured artists include David Bowen, John Cage, Stanley A. Cain, Oron Catts, Benjamin Forster, Front Design, Nikolaus Gansterer, legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson, Patricia Johanson, Sol LeWitt, Mark Lombardi, Tony Orrico, Tristan Perich, Robin Rhode, Eero Saarinen, Ruth Adler Schnee, Carolee Schneemann, Chemi Rosado Seijo, Corrie Van Sice, Jorinde Voigt, Ionat Zurr, and many more. It also integrates work from the collections of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

A live performance by artist Tony Orrico took place on November 16 and 17 during which he explored his own body and its physical limits as he created a drawing that remains in the museum for the duration of the exhibition. Artist and composer Tristan Perich installed a live Machine Drawing that uses mechanics and code to cumulatively etch markings across a museum wall.

The title of the exhibition derives from a quotation by philosopher, mathematician and scientist Charles Sanders Peirce, whose work involving the over- and under-laying of mathematical formulas with pictographic drawings is presented for the first time. The exhibition is on view November 16, 2013, through March 30, 2014. An exhibition catalog My Brain Is in My Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process, edited by Nina Samuel and Gregory Wittkopp and published by Cranbrook Art Museum, is available.

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Cite this Article

Issues, . “My Brain is My Inkstand.” Issues in Science and Technology 30, no. 2 (Winter 2014).

Vol. XXX, No. 2, Winter 2014