Can We Know the Sound of Forgiveness, artist 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.