about the exhibition
El Paso, TX and Santa Fe, NM
April 09–July 05, 1998about the artist
Born in Lubbock, TX in 1946, James Drake lives and works in El Paso, TX and Santa Fe, NM. Drake holds a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA. Since the 1970s, Drake has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, including one-person exhibitions at Diverseworks Artspace, Houston, TX; SITE Santa Fe, NM; El Paso Museum of Art, TX; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D,C.; La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, CA; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; and The Alternative Museum, New York, NY. He has participated in over 100 group exhibitions.
Drake has continually investigated the social dynamics of the U.S./Mexico border through participatory, community-based art. In drawings, video installations, artist books and photography, Drake has exposed the emotions and realities of individuals and their struggles for social justice and equity. Although political in content, the forms of Drake’s investigations take on a poetic, reflective quality and an international style. The universality of his message—that all people deserve the right to freedom—resonates for the viewer and his collaborators.
about the exhibition
Drake’s installation at ArtPace, Tongue-Cut Sparrows, centers on video projections of three women standing on a sidewalk outside an El Paso jail, communicating with prisoners in
side the building. Using a home-made sign language, the prisoners, their families and loved ones speak to each other about their losses, desires, dreams and daily realities. Drake worked with the family members to interject texts that allude to loss and distance, including literary works by William Shakespeare, Jorge Borges, Frederico Lorca, Benjamin Saenz, Cormac McCarty, and Antonio Machado. Alongside the video projections Drake presents a series of large charcoal drawings and a limited-edition artist book that are part of this unique investigation about forms of communication.
Tongue-Cut Sparrows was originally commissioned by SITE Santa Fe and has traveled to Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago and Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco. It will be exhibited at Pamela Auchincloss Project Space, New York and the Contemporary Arts Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach.