Peter Drake

Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland
August 7 - 30


Morning Omission (1996),
oil on canvas

NEW YORK painter Peter Drake has consistently hewn to the disipline of high realism and Old Master chiaroscuro throughout his career, but his focus is on the psychological and surreal potential of actual visual experience coupled with lapses into fantasy and dreams.

His objective is of course enigma, a calculated quality which has been with us from Hieronymus Bosch to Eric Fischl, has fastened and glued audience consternation from the Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa to Marina Abramovic's headless torsos. Truly affecting enigma is more than a sight-gag or a stunt, and Drake realizes this as he plumbs the deepest levels of the collective unconscious in search of archetypal imagery which may trigger lasting, and strangely inexpressible responses.

Drake permits his imagination to propel him from eeriest dream situations (centrally lit male and female nude figures standing in a darkened space, clad in a dozen or so phantom wrists and hands) to unaccountably disturbing middle class domestic scenes in which something is Blue Velvety and definitely awry.

© Ted Lindberg