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

VII. Woodstock again. 1991 – 2001: Synthesis.

40 Delaware Lenape's Dream Machine, 1956; 1996

41 Woodstock Playhouse With Vermeer c. 1994

42 Kaleidoscope With Slides and Cats, 1996

43 Ariadne, 1999

44 Woodstock, 1998

Drake’s studio work of this time is increasingly based upon his established compositional devices. An exception easily explained is Delaware Lenape’s Dream Machine of 1996. Bud’s penchant for reworking old things was exercised again on Lenape Park, the 1956 painting that first gained him professional recognition when awarded a prize in a juried exhibition.  In response to a coming show  called “Abstract Dreamscapes” announced by the Woodstock Artists Association, and under the influence of the TV Late Night Show, Bud repainted it and renamed the picture for submission.

Bud’s associations can sometimes be oblique, when not random, but are often  very specific.  Woodstock Playhouse with Vermeer and Pansy Copeland is new work and not a remake. While it revisits the transfer print and collage it depends upon the square and circle at center for composition instead of overall pattern of distribution. It commemorates his late mother’s devotion to the playhouse, and he introduces the Vermeer because the Girl with a Pearl reminded him of his actress friend Shelley Duvall.

In Kaleidoscope with Slides and Cats , dated July 1996, an overall screen of 35mm transparencies floats above a colorful field organized around overlapping circles, brought down to earth by the introduction of twin blue cats and a bright bouquet. How much influence there might be from the Drakes’actual kaleidoscopes, or the optical phosphene phenomena exploited by Op Art, or psychedelic effects, is a matter of speculation. As for the slides, Bud was always involved with photography --- or are these eclipse viewers?

The alphabet and all it represents is brought into the equation and richly employed. Words or their fragments and components join shapes in the kaleidoscope,  adding content to abstraction. Ariadne and Woodstock are basically the same picture in composition alone, but that is exploited to very different ends. John Vanderlyn’s Ariadne is one of America’s most famous nudes, and painted in two versions. One, demurely draped, is in Bud’s old Pennsylvania Academy and the other, really nude, is in nearby Kingston, Vanderlyn’s hometown, and recently visited by the Drakes. Both versions are transferred to the surface, so in reverse, the PAFA picture as a pair. At the center of two dominant overlapping circles are two slides encircled in purple and held  (or defined) by hands, and above are the paired nudes. Aligned on the same center axis in between the others, dead center in the overall format, is a third slide encircled in yellow and set in the bright red mandorla of overlap, being also the focus of a central circle that is less dominant but encompasses all three slides and both nudes. Emphasis and contrast in color and other elements suggest layers in shallow space and evoke phenomena of binocular stereoscopic vision. Without recourse to perspective he pulls us into his own visual space before and behind the picture plane. But are we looking in or the artist looking out? The alphabet plays with words, such as  TOP DOG GOD; it is dated 1999 but looks to Y2K, and marked PAFA; and could YES mean ayes, or EYES? THE EYES HAVE IT!!!

Woodstock remains pictorially on the surface but is no less a celebration of himself. Within the picture frame the alphabet spells out “Woodstock” and hints at tinsel-town with HOLLYWOOD at the top, and suggests that the letters might fall into words at the turn of the kaleidoscope. The artist inhabits the stars, made specific at lower right. The painted border is full of associations with Woodstock, then celebrating the centennial of Byrdcliffe, the house of Ralph WHITEHEAD, founder of the artist colony along with Hervey WHITE.  There are references to a cold winter in a town of inns and snowboarders (and hempline?). The left margin, read backwards, asks WHERE D ART?