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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego presents 'James Drake: Anatomy of Drawing and Space'
James Drake, The Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash) – from Chapter 1 (detail), 2012-2013, mixed media on paper. Courtesy of the artist. ©James Drake 2013.

SAN DIEGO, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego presents James Drake: Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash) at its downtown location. The exhibition will remain on view through September 21, 2014.

James Drake committed himself to drawing every day for the past two years. The resulting 1,242 drawings cull from his personal reservoir of images formed during his forty-year career. Each work has been pinned directly to the walls of the three major galleries at MCASD’s downtown location, covering surfaces from floor to ceiling. Drake’s drawings, and resulting installation, serve as an echo of the artist’s studio and mind played out on epic scale.

Fluttering free at the bottom edge, each composition— rendered in pencil, inks and charcoal often with collage and stencil work—conveys an immediacy and intimacy. Composed in ten “chapters,” the works are installed wall after wall, room after room. Imagery may be contained within a single sheet or expand across multiple pages, creating a composition that is both singular and expansive. Confident and enigmatic, the installation asserts itself and fully occupies its architectural space, even as it makes way for intimate viewing experiences.

These lyrical, classically tinged drawings may surprise those familiar with Drake’s rugged sculptures and photographs which evoke social constructs and animal instincts. Yet, close consideration of the expansive grid, reveals a layering of Drake’s enduring themes of order and chaos, life and death, and legacy and innovation; as well as his signature images of wild animals, scientific formulas, personal portraits, and art historical figures.

Following its San Diego debut, James Drake: Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash) will travel to the Blanton Museum of Art on the University of Texas in Austin, Texas from October 19, 2014 to January 4, 2015, and will then travel to flexibly feature all ten or selected, sequential chapters. At its fullest, the installation exceeds the length of a football field. At its smallest, a single chapter can occupy a twenty-foot wall. The show is accompanied by an artist book with scale reproductions of all 1242 drawings, and new writing by physicist David C. Krakauer, renowned for his transdisciplinary approach to the studies of systems.

James Drake was born in Lubbock Texas in 1946, and received his MFA from Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles. His work is in the permanent collections of more than 30 museums. He has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions and included in important group shows. Drake lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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