Within the humble parameters of twill, Jim Drain crafts sculptural surfaces on the walls of Prism Gallery. Mixed-media garlands whose links are connected by a modest staple frame portals into an imaginative and whimsical experience, wherein the gaze pushes past the inherent flatness of the gallery wall and extends deep into the nuances of the artist’s hand. Utilizing twill to create many of the large scale works in “Drain Expressions,” Drain calls attention to a material that references handiwork and the act of spinning a pattern and weaving variations in texture. By employing diverse patchwork styles side by side and then painting the fabric with acrylic, the artist achieves a dichotomous surface tension where the twill assumes weight while remaining delicate, and commands a presence while it is effortlessly installed.
“Drain Expressions” explores the deconstruction of the canvas by unraveling a composition from the inside out. Rather than considering a work for the finished product, Drain explores the individual parts that shape the entire composition. Hugs, a large-scale work composed of twelve square panels, operates both as single work in which the disparate patchwork effects create a dimensional surface and individually where some panels appear as intricate origami designs and others like a bamboo nest. Exposed portions of Hugs reveals the structural framework, but the subtle circle that has been cut out pushes the eye through work and creates an illusion of depth and buoyancy. Inserted elsewhere in the exhibition are four screen-prints rendered in alternating color schemes. Created in a style similar to a promotional poster, each print bears the name of the artist, the exhibition, the show’
s dates, and the gallery. Three quarters of the screen-print is dominated by an undulating graphic pattern, which at first glance seems a compressed grid, but once the eyes relax and the kaleidoscopic motion wanes, the viewer uncovers a message within: “Jim Drain Prism.” The poster is self-referential, pointing to the commercial aspects underlying the display of contemporary art, while at the same time celebrating the art of looking.
Main Image: “Hugs” 2012 Acrylic on twill 84 1/2″ x 98″ x 3/8″ Photo: courtesy of the Artist and PRISM, Los Angeles
All image courtesy of the artist and PRISM