Pareidolia: “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist”, according to the World English Dictionary.
Further to my research on Pareidolia following my mixed media exploration, I came across these related references accidentally (honest).
The deliberate accident in art: this Tate article outlines other artists that use “accidental” mark-making as inspiration, including (interestingly as I didn’t know he was a visual artist) Victor Hugo.
In a chapter on Dreams (Kovats, 2007: 201 et seq.) Charles Darwent discusses the difference between Rembrandt’s A Girl Sleeping (c. 1665) and Goya’s Mala Mujer (Wicked Woman) (1802) in terms of the artists’ aims and understanding of consciousness and dreams.
Darwent asserts that it was Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams that was the founding text of Surrealism as it established dreams as “cryptic messages of the id” that could be de-cyphered – rather than something fleeting that only an artist could capture.
Some interesting quotes (ibid: 202) include:
“All that we see or have seen is but a dream within a dream” Edgar Allen Poe, A Dream within a Dream.
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” Pablo Picasso.
And from Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll (ibid: 215):
“And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be?”
“Where I am now, of course,” said Alice.
“Not you!” Tweedledum retorted contemptuously. “You’d be nowhere. Why, you’re only a sort of thing in his dream!”