Andrew Edlin Gallery is excited to announce the forthcoming opening of “Beverly Buchanan: And You May Find Yourself...,” its first-ever presentation of the work of the African-American artist Beverly Buchanan, which will feature a selection of her wooden sculptures and oil-pastel-on-paper drawings depicting houses and other buildings of America’s rural South.
Born in North Carolina in 1940, Buchanan grew up in South Carolina and earned several university degrees in the sciences before beginning her professional career in New York as a health-care educator. However, about two years later, in 1971, she enrolled at the Art Students’ League in Manhattan, where she studied with Norman Lewis (1909-1979), the black, American, abstract-expressionist painter. From that time on, Buchanan devoted her time to making art.
The winner of numerous honors during her long career, including, among others, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and an Anonymous Was A Woman award, Buchanan has become best known for her art’s exploration of the vernacular architecture of the American South. In a statement on her official website, she has written: “Remembering the look and feel of structures has been a strong focus in my drawings and sculptures. My vision and interest shifted to the reality of current places and their surrounding landscape. The house and its yard and the road behind and across.”
Buchanan refers to the essences of the physical structures and the places where they are located, which, collectively, have become the central themes of her art, as “groundings.” For the artist, each of her depictions of an inhabited or an abandoned dwelling strives to capture its spirit as what she has called an “emotional grounding.” She has stated, “Groundings are everywhere. I’m trying to make houses and other objects that show what some of them might look like now and in the past.”
Buchanan uses wood chips and scraps or sometimes Foamcore to make small-scale replicas of traditional saddlebag houses, cabins, school buildings, churches or barns. Characterized by chunky volumes and sometimes sluggish lines or even semi-abstract forms, and made with layers of wood chips that serve to build up each structure’s walls or roof, the artist’s sculptural works are full of offbeat charm. Her oil-pastel-on-paper drawings portray these same architectural subjects in brightly colored compositions marked by passages of dense, frenetic line work.
Buchanan has shown her art widely at galleries and museums in the United States, including, notably, in “When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South,” a group exhibition of works by contemporary schooled and self-taught artists, which was organized by and presented at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, last year.