January 28 - March 20, 2021
January 28 - March 20, 2021
The paintings in this exhibition split into two distinct themes: crowded places where overhead views of hats- homburgs, bowlers, fedoras, caps - jam together to fill the picture plane, and open spaces where driverless cars traverse surreal landscapes that seemingly extend forever. In all of his work, Drasler relies on patterns to create an infinite sense of time and place that continues beyond his canvases. Although two distinct themes, both find root in the artist’s lifelong interest in film. Framing, serializing and sequencing are seen in Drasler’s process as well as his subject.
Drasler first began his Hats Series in the 1980s, when he was inspired by photographs of Union rallies from the mid 20th century. Instinctively, he has always been drawn to imagery from other eras for its connection to our collective memory, but he also plays to the varied and individualized interpretations that it evokes in viewers. He finds that portraying dated imagery offers the past a sort of redemption by encouraging viewers to find connections to their own, contemporary lives. Drasler has worked on his Hats Series on and off since the 80s. In 2020, he took up the theme again as a means to address our shared anxiety about crowds, brought on by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Drasler's vast, colorfully patterned landscapes were inspired by a 2016 road trip that he took from his hometown through the upper Midwest. The window of his car framed his view of the land and architecture that he passed along the way, reminding him of the filmmaking techniques of framing and serializing. The frame-by-frame construction of these long, extended landscapes intentionally recalls filmstrips or hand painted movies. Meanwhile, the smaller Bus Stop/ Checkpoint paintings act as singular film stills. Drasler's interest in film began when he was an undergrad at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana and ever since his painting process has emulated the filmmaking process. In his paintings, Drasler often sets viewers slightly above and behind the action, a typical camera angle. He thinks of his titles as voiceovers.
Our technology has changed. So that’s what is interesting to watch and that's what is interesting to me about the car as almost a filmic apparatus. Driving down the road can feel like a great movie if you’re not destination-driven. This whole idea of “in between” kind of opens up this huge chasm, like a reversal of Ockham’s Razor.
[This work has] presented itself as this open road that in some ways is wanting to be stopped but also has this two-lane blacktop highway, which is just continually going off into the distance and is why these images have a drive for me in how they’re organized and what they do, and how they work.
Born in Waukegan, IL, Greg Drasler received a BFA and MFA from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana. He has exhibited regularly in the US since the mid 80's. Widely collected privately, Drasler’s work can be seen in the collections of Dow Jones, Inc., New York; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL; University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, IL; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and The Fisher Landau Center for Art, Long Island City, New York, among others. Drasler has been the recipient of the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant (2019), John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2015), National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1993) and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (1991). He is currently a Professor at Pratt Institute and previously taught at Princeton University.