Jim Drain is, in every sense of the title, a multi-media artist. But this term, which was invented with a diplomatic intent, has proved controversial. Artists everywhere are asking whether or not we should establish a boundary between art made for the computer screen and that made for the gallery. And this of course can initiate countless more conversations about art's ever-shifting substance.
For the past fourteen years, the Miami resident and RISD grad has been working with materials of varying tangibilty, from yarn to blinking pixels, and showing his work all over the world. Drain is working now on a comission for a new U.S. Embassy compound in Rabat, Morocco, for example.
When asked if he preferred to differentiate between processes in his more tactile work versus his digitally-produced art, such as his series of .GIFs, he responded: "In the project I was working on this summer at RISD, I worked closely with two sculpture grads and two interior architects. We were making a mock-up sculpture for the U.S. Embassy in Rabat through the Art In Embassies program. The sculpture grads used chipboard and glue to make models while the INTAR students worked on the models using a 3-D modeling program. I thought we would move faster on the computer, but it was the opposite; the computer became a better tool to clean up the models we had made in chipboard. Both were indispensable but worked better in relation to each other."
Drain Expressions is Drain's first solo show at the PRISM gallery in Los Angeles and currently on view there. Coinciding with this exhibition, Jim Drain will deliver a lecture at the Hammer Museum tomorrow, November 15, at 7.30pm. The exhibition, featuring elaborate woven compositions, deconstructed paintings, immersive wall patterns, wall-mounted sculptures and gently satirical promotional posters, will be open through January 5, 2013.