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Sunday, 20 April 2008

SHOWCASE REVIEW : John Drake

Cyclone - Etching - 2007 - 330x490mm

John Drake is an artist who lives on The Sunshine Coast in Queensland. He graduated from Queensland College of Art in the early eighties as a skilled printmaker. John's primary focus has been etching but he is also a gifted drawer and fine painter.

Over the years I have been amazed at his precision drawing and skilled representation. John's drawing ability seems to be the supporting frame work for his impressive technical skills.

Lucky's Mural - Oil on Canvas - 1994

I always remember walking through the printmaking rooms at college and noticing this studious but calm figure working at his art of printmaking. He seemed to be a man focused on his work with an attention to technique and surety of action.

John has an eye for detail and has an ability to draw our attention to the seemingly common place to show the beauty that he sees. This print depicting a cat in a basket has a warm, comfortable and familial feel to it.

Washing Basket - Linoprint - 1988 - 300x300mm

The above etching 'Cyclone' depicts a banana tree that had been affected by a bonfire. The title relates to cyclone Larry that swept northern Queensland near Innisfail in march 2006. This severe cyclone affected many banana plantations and subsequently cost many millions of dollars in lost property and revenue. John said about this work, "I just found a banana tree that had been affected by a bonfire and whose leaves formed these wonderful curving shapes, so I guess you could say that beauty can be found in something distressed and broken". John described the work as a, " two plate colour etching with some elements of monoprinting taking place".

To me the 'Cyclone' print has a keen sense of place, the space before and beyond the banana tree create a contextual atmosphere. On viewing the battered leaves and hanging fruit I get a sense of standing in front of this tree. The muted colouring and broken light adds to this feeling of being there. In many ways the artwork has abstract qualities but something in the way the light and perspective interplay with the precise representation creates flashes of realism. For some reason, aided by the title, we get a feeling of sorrow for the tree - the print evokes an emotional response from us.

To see more of John's prints click here and more of his paintings click here.

If you are interested in John's work and want to know more then leave a note in the comment section for this post.

4 comments:

  1. Hi

    I'm not sure if you can help, but i was wondering if this John Drake is the John Drake that used to teach at Tullawong State High School.

    I'm curious because my year 10 art teacher was a Mr. John Drake and he was responsible for me getting my very first commission.

    I have just completed an art degree at university, have been part of a few small exhibitions and would very much like to get in contact with Mr Drake...just touch base...

    Again, i'm not sure if you can help, but my email address is miss_shayna88@hotmail.com

    Thanks,
    Shayna :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Shayna, It is the same John - I have sent an email to him concerning your enquiry.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks David. How exciting. haha :)

    ReplyDelete

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