Through his drawings, video, sculpture, photography, and installations, artist James Drake has explored the human condition, specifically its emotions and its borders, both material and metaphysical. His work across forty years ranges from a collection of 1,242 drawings entitled Anatomy of Drawing and Space: Brain Trash that includes mathematical formulas, skeletons, and wild animals to an installation called The Trophy Room that examines violence and division between humans and animals. About the artist, Kathryn Kanjo, chief curator and head of the curatorial department at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego writes, “He defies a ready, singular style. Instead, Drake maps a space of humanity toggling between the languages of physics and poetry, illustrated by images of current events and cultural history.”
Born in Lubbock, Texas, in 1946 and raised in Guatemala, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, Drake received both his MFA and his BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California. He currently lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His art has been displayed across the country, from the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City, New York to the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington DC to the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, Texas. In 2014, Drake’s collection Anatomy of Drawing and Space: Brain Trash traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas at Austin for exhibition. He has published three books: James Drake (University of Texas Press, 2008); James Drake: Red Drawings & White Cut-Outs (Radius Books, 2012); and James Drake: 1242 (Radius Books, 2015). Drake is the recipient of numerous awards, including three National Endowment for the Arts Grants (1988, 1989), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2001), and a Nancy Graves Award for Visual Arts (2001).