James Drake: Can We Know the Sound of Forgiveness

Exhibition Dates: January 11 – February 15, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 11 from 6–8 pm
Gallery Location: 434 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am–5 pm
Contact Info: 504.522.1999; www.arthurrogergallery.com

The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present Can We Know the Sound of Forgiveness, an exhibition of pastel drawings on paper and glass sculpture by James Drake. The exhibition will be on view at Arthur Roger@434, located at 434 Julia Street, from January 11 – February 15, 2014. The gallery will host an opening reception on Saturday, January 11 from 6-8 pm.

Seated Man (Adam), 2010. Pastel on paper, 104 x 52 ½ inches.

Can We Know the Sound of Forgiveness, James Drake’s eleventh exhibition with the gallery, features a collection of the artist’s “red” drawings as well as a grouping of glass sculpture. The pastel drawings continue to reveal the renowned artist’s method and deliberation. The subjects, always personal, are often flecked with faint notations and markings, on paper consumed by the process, sometimes pieced together with exposed tape. Red, a color with historic richness in drawing, conjures many associations such as blood and passion. The hue chosen by the artist for these drawings has been referred to as “acid red,” exemplifying the artist’s determination to push the color to further extremes.

The scale of the works on paper ranges from small to the artist’s well-known larger than life size. The larger drawings feature finessed individuals with each mark and stroke profoundly revealed. With these, the artist explains that he was thinking of three life cycles: Birth: “Big Baby,” a life lived: “Adam and Eve” and Death: “Two Women.” Although the drawings reference a classical attitude and approach, for James Drake they very much depict contemporary people. The artist considers the two “Adam” and “Eve” drawings to be intuitive of a modern Adam and Eve – in his words “mature, worldly and knowing good and evil.” Also included are a medium-sized work – a reclining woman under a graphite drawing of an intricate mirror – and small, complex, energetic studies. The transparent, clear glass sculptures – a knife, axe and collection of tongues – are subtle in comparison to the drawings but equal in impression and confrontation.

James Drake was born in Lubbock, TX in 1946. He received his BFA in 1969 and MFA in 1970 from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, CA. Drake has presented his figurative narrative art internationally and has received critical praise for his dramatic steel sculptures, drawings and video installations. His vocabulary of images relates to art history, weaponry, the fine line between savagery and civilization, and life on the densely populated bilingual Juarez-El Paso border. His work is in the permanent collection of over 30 museums, including the Albright-Knox Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the New Orleans Museum of Art.  In 2000 his work was included in the Whitney Biennial. Drake is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants.