ASHEVILLE, NC – The contemporary artist Beverly Buchanan creates works that speak to the integrity, resilience and resolution of humankind. Her drawings and sculpture will be on view in the Asheville Art Museum’s solo exhibition Response and Memory: The Art of Beverly Buchanan opening Friday, May 8, 2009 with a reception with artist Beverly Buchanan from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. that evening.
Buchanan (1940-) was born in Fuquay, North Carolina and raised in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She was a medical technologist for the Veterans Administration in the Bronx and then a health educator for the East Orange NY Health Department. In 1971 she attended art classes at the Art Students League leading to her first solo exhibition at the Cinque Gallery in New York in 1972.
She moved to Georgia in 1977 to devote her full attention to art. Buchanan’s early sculpture demonstrates an innate interest in the architecture of poverty. Made of cast concrete, clay, pigment and other materials, these primeval, block-like forms convey a sense of archaeological ruin and mystery.
Buchanan’s art gradually evolved from abstract, organic forms into the expressionistic, representational works she executes today. Her sculptures are based, in part, on the sharecropper shacks that can be found along the back roads of the rural South. Buchanan’s sculpture and drawings challenge the icons of hopelessness; they are elegies that salute the integrity, resilience and resolution of humankind.
She says, “My work is about, I think, responses. My response to what I’m calling ‘groundings.’ A process of creating objects that relate to but are not reproductions of structures, houses mainly lived in now or abandoned that served as home or an emotional grounding. What’s important for me is the total look of the piece. Each section must relate to the whole structure. There are new groundings, but old ones help me ask questions and see possible stories as answers. 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.”
Response and Memory: The Art of Beverly Buchanan will feature the bold, colorful and expressive drawings and sculpture of Buchanan.
In 1980, Buchanan was awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work is in the collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, PA; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC; High Museum of Art, GA; Asheville Art Museum, NC; and the Tubman African American Museum, GA.
This exhibition was organized and curated by the Asheville Art Museum. It will travel to the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA. The Museum is grateful to Ted and Ann Oliver and Oliver’s Southern Folk Art for their generous support in organizing this exhibition and lending artworks. This exhibition is sponsored in part by Ray Griffin and Thom Robinson.