On Saturday, July 8th, 2017, Booth Gallery is pleased to present Jesse Draxler in his first exhibition comprised solely of drawings entitled, “Tire Fire”. The exhibition is a culmination of new works, which presented new challenges and required genuine self-exploration in order to find where a focus on the medium would take him.
Tire fires, where tires are stored, dumped, or processed, exist in two forms: as fast-burning events, leading to almost immediate loss of control, and as slow-burning pyrolysis that can continue for over a decade. They are noted for being difficult to extinguish.
To spark a vigorous drawing practice Draxler began by obtaining a large stack of paper. Being that his approach always begins with experimentation, he knew he needed a disposable amount of substrate. Within minutes of starting on each sheet he knew whether or not he was happy with the direction of the work, at which point he would move the drawing onto either a save pile or a slop pile. Later on the save pile was further curated; some were completed, while most others found their way to the slop. The save pile ended up in frames, while each sheet in the slop pile was painted black and now make up The Tower installation. The framed works along with The Tower installation are the yin and yang of “Tire Fire”, two interdependent sides of the same practice.
For Draxler, plumbing the darkness of his past was at times enlightening and at other times quite unflattering. Regardless of the reflection he saw through his work, from higher self to the perverse, that is where he wanted to draw from both literally and figuratively, creating pieces void of contrived grandiose statements or over sentimentalities.
“Where I was drawing from within became much more important than what I was drawing. I felt I had little control over how I was drawing, in what style, or if I was able to draw in a self-satisfying manner that day at all. I learned to recognize these things and work with them, rather than to struggle against. To draw intuitively when I could, and when I couldn’t, to work on the Tower installation instead. Walking away plays a big role in my practice.”
Draxler draws a parallel between his return to drawing, the medium in which his love of image making began, and the return to the self which he experienced during the creation of these works. His drawing style evolved as he revisited influences of his past including album covers and comic books, which remain two of his main influences today. Honesty became one of the main tenants of his practice: about where and what he comes from, and the role his environment played into his artistic development.
Jesse Draxler is a Los Angeles based artist best known for his collage and mixed media works, though drawing has always been at the heart of his practice. As a child growing up in rural Wisconsin Draxler drew incessantly. Being that his father was a mechanic he would spend hours upon hours drawing cars, trucks, and engine parts. Later in adolescence, his attention changed as circumstances became bleak.
Draxler’s mother was in a near-fatal car accident when he was nine. Upon her recovery, over a year later, his parents were divorced. His mother, whom he was now living with, soon remarried. Then just months after the wedding she was run over and killed by her new husband in his truck, an event to which he arrived just moments later.
In the following years, Draxler states that he barely remembers a thing. These times of pervasive uncertainty and loss changed him forever and his focus shifted to much darker interests. He was always an outcast from his peers, but from this time on Draxler leaned into his outsider lot in life. It wasn’t until almost two decades later that he began to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Themes of bewilderment, isolation, ambiguity, and absurdity are all strongly represented in Draxler’s work, along with frustration and aggression. Yet these are not endpoints but have rather become the in-roads to deeper understanding and acceptance. It is clear he has spent the better part of his life straddling the line between fear and ecstasy, the beautiful and the grotesque. The result is Draxler’s unique ability to present a point of view in which the subtle nuances of the human condition are concisely illuminated, satisfying a psychological and emotional itch that so seldom gets scratched.
The opening reception for “Tire Fire” will be hosted Saturday, July 8th, 2017, from 7-11pm at Booth Gallery. The reception is open to the public, and the exhibition is on view through August 12th, 2017. For inquiries, or to request a collector preview of the exhibition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.