Nobody painted like Jack Drummer.
His imposing canvases of the 1990s – stretched with rubber, woven with organic material, slicked with tar, sometimes slathered with cynicism – seem to speak of an impossible darkness obscuring some persistent hope. They’re about what it was like to live and seek meaning in the second half of the 20th century. Not an easy task, but one that inspired Drummer to create hundreds of inventive abstractions, each with its own gravitational pull on the soul.
Highlights from that body work and many others will go on view in “Jack Drummer: The Effects of Time,” opening Feb. 12 in the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.). It is the first major exhibition of Drummer’s work since the famously independent artist’s death in 2013 and features 14 monumental works from across his career.
“Like a freewheeling character out of Kerouac’s ‘On The Road,’ he had a restless soul,” said Albright-Knox Art Gallery Chief Curator Emeritus Douglas Dreishpoon, who wrote the lead catalog essay. “Making art appears to be the one constant thing in a life around which everything else constantly changed. Indeed creating art, wherever he was and from whatever materials were available, became a way of dealing with life that defied and deflected every other circumstance.”
The show opens with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12 as part of the Burchfield Penney’s monthly Second Fridays celebration, which also features the opening of exhibitions based on the center’s Charles Burchfield archives and the video work of Icelandic-born artist Steina Vasulka. A companion exhibition of Drummer’s work will open in the Body of Trade and Commerce Gallery on April 28, with a pop-up exhibition planned for Silo City June 10-12. Call 878-6011 or visit burchfieldpenney.org.