For the past 30 years, Drew has transformed varied new materials into expressive assemblage, often distressing raw ingredients to evoke the passage of time. With this exhibition, Drew expands his practice to incorporate a wider spectrum of color and to explore new aspects of his materials. The main gallery features Number 215 (2019), an energetic wood installation that is both sweeping in scale and intimate in detail, creating the appearance of an enveloping explosion that is frozen in time and space.
The exhibition coincides with Drew’s first major outdoor public artwork, City in the Grass, an over one-hundred feet long by thirty-feet wide project commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy, New York. City in the Grass will be on view from June 3, 2019, through December 15, 2019. An undulating aluminum substructure serves as the base for the artist’s use of colored sand — a new and unexpected material — and wood reliefs that evoke the designs of a patterned carpet. While City in the Grass responds to the Park’s urban terrain, Number 215 becomes an otherworldly viewer experience.
In the smaller gallery are several sculptural reliefs in Drew’s signature technique, featuring neatly stacked pieces of cut lumber that extend into tree-like tendrils, all finished with a matte black wash. The works appear to be suspended in mid-transition, whether regeneration or decline, exemplifying Drew’s long-standing interest in lifecycles and how human labor leaves traces of life behind in the material produced. Referring to how the work reads horizontally like written language, Drew says, “I think of it as making chaos legible.”