about the artist
...Duke Drake is a painter whose goal is to let the work speak for itself and to let viewers be guided by their own observations and conclusions rather than his personal image.
The artist’s ideas are embedded in recurring symbols, graphic elements and discernible figurations. Represented within a pulsating universe, they express a cogent philosophy echoing a Miltonian sense of free will.
The paintings share similar attributes. Symbols and rare figurations populate outer space, a world of infinite possibilities and paths of choice. Some are traps, as unending as the line that makes a circle, such as the quest for money. It can lead a person to gamble literally, which in itself is another quagmire that can more easily lead to failure rather than success.
There is a wild Jackson Pollock-esque quality to some of the artist’s work, but always within control rather than ecstatically random. One can see things differently when standing six feet away from the paintings than when standing close for an examination of symbols, patterns and design elements. If, on second or third glance, you notice an attractive young woman’s profile in a painting or seductive, slightly parted female lips with red lipstick, seduction is the message – whether it is sex or any risky endeavor. Any single-minded pursuit can lead to a life out of balance and an inescapable downward spiral.
These labor-intensive paintings represent the entire cosmos beyond earth. There are millions and millions of planets, more than the mind can fathom. Each painting designates this vast space and each person can find himself or herself as part of it. Outer space means the endlessness of the cosmos but it also means we have an inner space worth exploring with endless choices. The forms and colors within these dynamic paintings stand for the rush and crush of the human population globally. Each person is guided by a sense of their own destiny and righteousness. But it may be forgotten that we as humans are all part of the same system, the same mechanism and that there are certain forces outside our control.
These profoundly spiritual works by the artist have their core in a sense that this fast-moving, digital, over-achieving world is at risk for loss of our humanity. The personal quest for greatness has no affiliation with the collective good. The individual does not consider the larger community.
Magnifying these concepts, it can be concluded that the artist sees commonality in people regardless of where they live, their ethnic or religious affiliation or political bias. Forget tribalism and the divisions inherent within them because we are all part of the human tribe with big problems to solve universally, like climate change and environmental stewardship.
The artist appears to be an advocate for peace.”