Drake Collection Online

Gallery Index
Gallery I. The Fifties - Philadelphia
Gallery II. The Sixties - Manhattan
Gallery III. Manhattan
Gallery IV. Manhattan
Gallery V. Philadelphia
Gallery VI. Synthesis, Sign & Symbol
Gallery VII. Woodstock Again
Gallery VIII. Introspection

II. The Sixties. Manhattan: Breaking the Mold.


6 Mirror of Many Memories, 1961-62

7 Song of Moby Dick, c.1962

8 Entrance, c. 1962

9 Passage Through Light, c. 1962

10. Manhattan, c. 1961

11 Piper's Cove, c. 1960

In New York Drake turned to total abstraction in conventional media, large canvases worked in fatty oils in near monochrome, with a limited range of high keyed values. Organic shapes squeeze each other on the surface, squirm like cultures in a petri dish or lie like oysters in their parks, confined within a painted frame. They invite comparison to the free form collages and paintings of marca-Relli and Gorky, and the incorporated framing of Lee Gatch, then current. This tendency to order even the most fluid activity within a clear defining border was particularly effective at a time when frames consisted only of thin metallic strips. It becomes characteristic of much of Drake’s future composition. Along with the “oyster beds” he introduces subtle color to some abstractions, bright and jazzy in Manhattan as suggested by the city lights and sounds, more subdued and foggy in paintings like Piper’s Cove, dating from summers in Ogunquit, Maine, in 1959 through 1961.