Peter Drake – Artist Statement
Re-Animate is about the ways in which I find my imagery.
Collecting, drawing, animating and painting are all independent parts of my studio practice. I see them all as separate but connected procedures that inform each other; paintings can become videos, videos can become paintings.
What is exciting about this process for me is that art can come from any direction, unexpectedly. The painting Chandelier is a perfect example. Chandelier, 2012 is based on Fluttering a 2011 video animation that was based on Flutter a 1993 dream painting. I made Fluttering, the video to see the entire dream in real time. When I finished the video, there was a haunting and compelling frame that I wanted to paint, different than the one the original painting was based on. Chandelier as an image would not have occurred to me without making the video.
The large painting Riders was created by recomposing the elements of my video Street Sweep into an ideal composition. The 112 x 148 inch painting was started on an iron oxide red ground that united the palette of the piece and allowed me to soup up the color to make the painting more hallucinatory. Street Sweep, the video came about when I realized that most of the lead toy soldiers that my father had collected (and that I inherited) were mirrors of European and American colonial wars. Beautifully crafted Bedouins, Zouaves, Turks and North African soldiers were made with the same meticulous care with no privileging of one culture over the next. I chose to create an animation of all of these "enemy combatants" riding in front of the U.N. to emphasize how long these wars have been going on and how little change has occurred over the centuries. Street Sweep as an animation was ambitious for me as it required that I more or less convincingly animate six unique riders and multiply them in deep space. The animation is set in front of footage that I shot of the flags of the world's nations fluttering in the wind. Each rider is based on a single, fixed photograph that is digitally manipulated to look like it is racing down First Avenue. Street Sweep begins with the sound of hoof-beats galloping that quickly morph into the sound of cannon-fire.
I take no particular political position in Riders and Street Sweep except to say that the hostilities that exist between the world's cultures have been ongoing, deeply rooted in our histories and sadly are seemingly intractable.