Wednesday, August 8, 2007



some new paintings by
Jim Draper
opens 8/17/07
Stellers Gallery Annex
Neptune Beach

About the Cows.
My entire body of work can be divided into two overlapping yet distinct concepts. One concept, which contains images such as the serialized "Healing Palms" along with some
seldom shown figure work and the birds, I refer to as "Liturgy" because it reflects a spiritual connection to the earth. The other group is called
"Produce," because it is about our physical connection to the planet. These two groups of paintings overlap ; one painting may be considered in a context about either idea.
The cow as an image and as a concept is interesting when looking at the history of the Americas, especially the peninsula that the Spaniards called, "la florida." The conquistadors
left Spain with ship laden with livestock and seeds with which they were familiar in order to provide sustenance in the new world. This practice was redundant because
the land which they were invading was ripe with available protein, it was just unfamiliar to the European pallet. Various calamities led to the escapes of these introduced
specie from settlements until modern times. Remnants abound in the southeast such as feral pigs, wild horses on remote islands along the Atlantic, and the wild "Cracker"
cows of Florida. As the presence of these European immigrants progresses in the Americas, introduced animals and plants merge with natives in order to form a new landscape that seems
to be totally natural. This is very much the same way the invading peoples have claimed this country as their own, putting up fences and arbitrary borders and
waving their arms madly in the air about some "immigration problem." Which brings me to one major point in the body of work I refer to as "Produce" which is that ecosystems can't be viewed in isolation, void of human interaction.
What I do as a painter is to record this varied imagery in order to promote conversation about humans, their need for sustenance, and their place in the environment.

In the paintings I sample all of my heroes, from the clumsy stiffness of the Pre-Raphaelites to the masters of the Renaissance.


Byron said...

What I do as a painter is to record this varied imagery in order to promote conversation about humans, their need for sustenance, and their place in the environment.


Why use painting if your goal is recording? Why not photography?
Why not video?

Just wondering. The image seems rendered precisely from a photograph. What makes the painting different from the photo?

jim draper said...

Paint. And the fact that it is a composite of
several images, and also, I am not a photographer
nor a videographer. Would like to. Moving images
into paint pushes them into an archaic world.
There is no real reason to paint anymore, other
than the artist's obsessive/compulsive desire to do so. Visual art has a lot of purposes (reasons to exist).
Also there is so much photography and video out in
the world right now archaic forms such as painting
are more noticable. I do like the idea of going back
to before the camera obscura was used in rendering.
Maybe into the 14th century. I am not trying to do anything new, at all. Does that make me not
contemporary? It certainly might.

Byron said...

you have some valid points. maybe going back to before
the camera is actually more contemporary? progressive
in a regressive nature. not sure if someone is
trying to not do something new if it does not make their work contemporary.
I personally try to push my work in a new direction each body of work.

it most likely has all been done before, but not by me. if someone
was to question everything and the possibility of it's newness or
not no one would get any work done. I think at some point an artist
has to say I'm doing this because it's where my heart is, and the direction
I want my work to go in. regardless of art history. sometimes a knowledge
of art history can be a downfall for someone because it taints their immediate
reaction to the world. continual references and shout outs to other artists that an artist
can do without even knowing it.

I like the cow painting.

jim draper said...

Thanks, It will be interesting to get reactions in general to the show. Don't know about art history.
It is hard to create (or exist) in a visual void.
I just know what excites me and what I want to do.
It has become that painting is a subversive act.
Which I like, really renegade (almost guerilla) and
the more fancy it is the more it seems to piss people
off. Watched an underground film that was
smuggled out of Indonesia the other day
about the Asmat, you know the head-hunters
who killed and ate Michael Rockafeller in the early 60's. The images, which were pure and unadulterated by western minds were very interesting. I like the idea of "Savage."
So, you may be right. I have no idea what I
would paint or draw, though.

Pedestrian Projects said...

do you know that if we all stopped eating beef, it would do more for the ozone layer than if we all stopped driving CARS????????

are the paintings about beef? you mention sustenance. it is sick to think that the dung of a cow, could deplete the ozone layer at a faster rate than car emissions.

jim draper said...

I think moreover, my point is that everyone should
become aware of the effects that their actions
have upon others. Pee in the river upstream and
someone downstream will drink it. Stopping
eating meat, not driving cars, those things
just are not going to happen. If we were all
to become more responsible about where
our food comes from and where our wastes
go it would be a good start.

Pedestrian Projects said...

well i try not to eat beef
but drive a huge SUV
so i guess you are right
but hopefully one cancels out the other
at least i dont pee in the river