Galleries Guide: Beverly Buchanan

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David Klein Gallery is kicking off the summer with Beverly Buchanan: Low Country. The exhibition includes Buchanan’s iconic shack sculptures and brightly colored drawings inspired by her childhood memories of traditional Southern tobacco barns and small houses.

Celebrated for her exploration of vernacular architecture in the American South, Buchanan describes her interest in rural shacks: "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... the first sight of the house made me feel like a bolt of lightning had hit me."

Beverly Buchanan was born in Fuquay, NC in 1940 and grew up in Orangeburg, SC where her father was the Dean of South Carolina State College. In 1962, Buchanan graduated from Bennet College in North Carolina with a degree in medical technology and later earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Columbia University in New York. She worked in medical technology and health education fields before pursuing a career in art.

In 1980, Buchanan was awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was also the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation award. Her work has been widely exhibited at museums and galleries in the United States, including The Montclair Art Museum, NJ; The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York; The Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC; the Tubman African American Museum, Macon, GA; and the Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA. 

...Despite the energy Buchanan has embedded in the forms of her sculptures, they also exude a startling silence. These homes are, after all, quite empty... the simultaneous vitality and vacancy of these structures creates a vague sense of loss... A similar sense of emptiness animates Buchanan’s oil pastels.... In these pictures, the square and rectangular structures buck up. Clapboards undulate above the confetti-colored landscapes. Her harried application of the bright pastels injects the images with feverish motion. These houses with their weightlessness and psychedelic palette, occupy a deserted, dreamlike world.
— Chloe Wilcox, The Brooklyn Rail 2015

Her most recent retrospective, “Beverly Buchanan, Ruins & Rituals”, opened at The Brooklyn Museum in October 2016.  This comprehensive exhibition launched the Museum’s year-long program “A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum”.  Buchanan’s work is in many public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Carnegie Museum of Art, PA; the Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; the Asheville Art Museum, NC; and The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York.

"Beverly Buchanan: Low Country" is exhibited at David Klein Gallery, 1520 Washington Blvd. Through July 29th.