Jim Drain & Ara Peterson - Pinwheels

HALL Wines Art - Jim Drain & Ara Peterson

Jim Drain (1975, Cleveland, Ohio) and Ara Peterson (1973, Boston, Massachusetts), Pinwheels, 2013, riveted aluminum, enamel paint, and pneumatics

Jim Drain and Ara Peterson have worked collaboratively since 2003. The primary focus of their work has been to explore visual phenomenon not only as an optical experience but one that is also sublime and comprehensive. Working collaboratively is an unconventional artistic method, however it allows Drain and Peterson to achieve new territory, or a “third mind” that they could not find working individually. Absurdity and order play dueling roles in their work; which typically explores a visually unified space using a bold palette, the play of scale, and by exploring the uses of straight-forward systems to achieve airy moments of a day-dream state. The tank fermentation room at HALL Winery serves as the ideal location for Ara Peterson and Jim Drain’s collaborative installation, Pinwheels

Pinwheels integrates functionally and aesthetically into the fermentation tank room. The pinwheels complement both the prevailing visual language of the room while directly drawing from the winery’s pneumatic system. Nozzles shoot intervals of pressurized air onto the back of the pinwheel fins to make each pinwheel spin. The riveted aircraft-style construction echoes the visual language of the space’s galvanized I-beams, the stainless steel tanks, and the grey of the mezzanine floor. 

One vantage point allows for a complete viewing of all fourteen pinwheels. When the pinwheels are activated and begin to spin, an immediate transformation of the circular designs happens and the experience of Pinwheels becomes an altogether different one. The tank room itself becomes animated by the motion of the works and the sound of the pneumatics.  The pneumatics allow for a more extreme optical experience by allowing for independent motion and continual speed change. It is as if the entire tank room itself becomes the artwork, transforming it into a landscape of industrial daydreams.

Ara Peterson and Jim Drain have exhibited both separately and together in the United States and internationally.   Previous to working as a duo, both artists were part of the four-person collaborative Forcefield, a music performance and video group that began working together in 1996. As the collaborative Drain/Peterson they were included in the Lyon de Biennale in Lyon, France (2003); in the exhibition titled, “Bizarre Love Triangle” at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2003); in the exhibition titled, “Wiggin Village” at the Moore Space, Miami, Florida (2004-2005); at the exhibition titled “Hypnogoogia” at Deitch Projects, New York (2005-2006); “The New York Minute” curated by Kathy Greyson at MACRO Future, Rome, Italy (2009);  “The New York Minute” curated by Kathy Greyson at the Garage, Moscow, Russia (2011).

“At first we were concerned about the noise because we thought it would disturb folks working in the tank room. But then after watching the pinwheels start, we realized the noise is a part of the installation. This feels like Willy Wonka coming to Napa, and with the sound effects of the train starting up, the spirit of fantasy is even more enhanced. We think it is important to have art in spaces that are not necessarily open to the public. We want all the HALL team to work around and enjoy the art. It brings creativity to the work place that is important to nurture.” –Kathryn Hall 

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