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James Drake

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Like a latter-day Bernini lost in the deserts of the American Southwest, James Drake, in his recent work, explores the stark and savage milieu of West Texas while assembling a romanticized allegorical overview of his life and oeuvre, treating both with an effusive period sensibility. Selected from his series “City of Tells,” 2001– (shown earlier in 2005 at SITE Santa Fe, in the city where Drake now lives and works), this video and sequence of large charcoal drawings are reminiscent of the Italian high Baroque in their extraordinary lushness. Drake uses charcoal in a broad and almost painterly manner, luxuriating in bravura sweeps of the medium in drawings that reach up to fifteen feet across. Somewhere between chiaroscuro and grisaille, his technique is both highly skillful and intensely dramatic.

One group of these drawings is from a project Drake has been working on since 2001. In an

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