In The Hudson (Show)Room
EL PASO, TX
ArtPace, A Foundation for Contemporary Art | San Antonio is pleased to present
Tongue-Cut Sparrows, a video installation by El Paso-based artist James Drake in The
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?t all people deserve the right to freedom?onates for
the viewer and his collaborators.
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 inside 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
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.
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