William Drake showcases work during art exhibition

William Drake showcases work during art exhibition

Mark Feuerborn

Viewers were given a chance to walk into the mind of William Drake recently, during his senior exhibit in the Washburn Art Building, called “Response and Expression.” The gallery featured pieces done with many mediums including sculpture photography, drawing, painting and printing.

Drake also held a reception for the exhibit, including a performance showcasing his music work on acoustic guitar, and contributing ambience as visitors walked through the gallery. This writer was given the chance to play alongside him.

William’s Artist Statement gives an idea of what inspires him, both visually and musically:

“I like to make art in the moment. The work may start with an idea to shoot for, but the outcome is not at all married to that idea,” said Drake.

A large and fitting influence for Drake in music is the avant-garde movement in the South. Avant-garde music entails rejecting the traditional ideas of music, such as the arrangement of pitches or chords in a perceived order. Avant-garde music is spontaneous, loose, and free, as performers often just play what they feel in the moment.

The trick to avant-garde music is the response between performers playing together. One musician must respond to what the other plays, making for a continuous rise and fall in heaviness of the sound created. For this writer, performing avant-garde on a type of hand-drum called a djembe with William was an interesting experience.

Drake boasted a vast collection of his work in his exhibit. There were many pieces, and quite a few stuck out.

One of the more noticeable works, which William seems to expand on in various mediums, involves mousetraps.

“In print, choice of imagery is taken from dreams, or what is around me every day. There is also a lot of purely abstract expression derived from the matrix or the way it is inked. Prints are torn, folded, woven, glued together, and drawn or written on,” said Drake.

The mousetrap piece was taken from a dream where William saw a single mousetrap tied onto a stick. He then went on to recreate it many times. Following that, he used the mousetrap in mixed media sculptures, prints, and photographs. The end result gives a very unique series of art pieces, all with a different feel to them.

Another of Drake’s works, a charcoal drawing, depicts two people sitting next to each other, but facing different directions. William’s framed pieces are his strongest pieces, as he said in his artist statement. It is an eerie drawing, with both people in the picture looking tired but thoughtful. Although the two are right next to each other, both seem to feel alone. The piece is powerful in that it gives the viewer a feeling of forlornness. This charcoal drawing does an excellent job of capturing the essence of loneliness and bewilderment. Many of Drake’s more abstract works can be interpreted in multiple ways, as his spontaneous approach leaves the pieces open to the viewer’s own ideas.

Drake thanked Washburn’s faculty and students for his time here, as he says it was a large influence on his work in the exhibit.

“It has been wonderful finishing up college here. The work is a response to my experiencing life during this time; everyday life, academic life.. As all this is taken in and made sense of or not made sense of, the work and the exhibit itself become an expression of this. This show is in large part for you.”

William Drake showcases work during art exhibition

To see more pictures of pieces from Drake’s Response and Expression exhibit, visit washburnreview.org.