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

VI. Synthesis: Sign and Symbol

27 Dream Catcher, 1975

28 Designing Hands and Feet, 1980

29 Self Portrait as Photographer, c. 1980

30 Black Hands Viewing, c. 1980

31 Winning Ways of IM Pei, 1965 and 1979-80

32 Uplifted Nude, 1980

33 French Armchair, Improved With Palms, 1985

34 Masked Man With PENNZOIL, 1980

35 Banzai, 1980

36 Cadillac Offspring, 1967
37 Panama, 1983

38 Red Hands, c. 1983

39 Hands in Space, c. 1990

Dream Catcher, done in 1975 in rural Pennsylvania during hunting season, incorporates decorative and structural elements that come to permeate Drake’s pictorial work--- circles and stars and the play of figure and ground of spaces in between. They have a strong role in the drama illustrated. Even the sound of the reports and the buckshot are shown as a deer meets his death, as seen by the hunter peering down double barrels, while standing in a pasture --- the circles are cow flops, the barrels, and the eyes of the hunter.

The artist’s own extremities double as paint applicators and frame of reference. In Self Portrait as Photographer the artist peers out at us holding a camera and framing the shot, doubling as both subject and viewer. By 1980 he uses the same device in the overpaint on The Winning Ways of I.M. Pei, a Photo-transfer montage of 1965.  On others, like Banzai, the laying on of hands forms a screen through which images are partially observed. 

Hands might also represent or emphasize a function, like supporting, grasping or shaping. Onto an early painting of a nude, standing in a Gauguin South-Sea pose, the hands radiate, pray, and embrace, and caress, and support. Palms support the back and seat of the anticipated occupant of the French armchair found on the sidewalk in Philadelphia. The original finish on their VW convertible, with the exception of the white wall wheels (the circles supporting the composition) disappears under photo-transfer on the outside, confetti dots and fingers on the inside. For continuity finger prints rise up the curbside telephone pole and the window trim of their house, behind.

In Philadelphia Drake became pre-occupied by the Hubble telescope. In Red Hands and Hands in Space the hands spread constellations or gather cosmic forces. Panama expands on the kaleidoscopic mosaic of color in Red Hands in a joyful, orphic interpretation of  one of the more bizarre uses of weapons of minimum destruction by our armed forces in a successful siege against one of our dictators. Noriega appears at dead center, surrounded by the sound of punk rock music blared at high decibel around his sanctuary.