Spelman College Museum of Fine Art Launches its 2017 Season with a Solo Exhibition Featuring Acclaimed Artist Beverly Buchanan
Beverly Buchanan, To Prudence Lopp, n.d., metal, plastic, and wood. Courtesy the Andrew Edlin Gallery. (PRNewsfoto/Spelman College) Beverly Buchanan, To Prudence Lopp, n.d., metal, plastic, and wood. Courtesy the Andrew Edlin Gallery.
Through incisive considerations of site, history, biography, and portraiture, Beverly Buchanan (1940–2015) produced landmark bodies of work, including cast concrete and mixed-media sculptures, drawings and books, and evocative paintings and photographs. “Beverly Buchanan—Ruins and Rituals,” on view September 14-December 2, 2017, at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, is the most comprehensive exhibition of Buchanan’s work to date, with more than 150 objects, including sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, notebooks of the artist’s writings and documentation of private performances. The exhibition emphasizes how Buchanan’s work resisted easy categorization and investigates her dialogue not only with a range of styles, materials, movements and literary genres, but also with gender, race, class and identity.
The exhibition features works that represent every phase of Buchanan’s career including early abstract paintings such as “City Walls” and “Black Walls,” which were influenced by her former mentors, Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden. It also includes site-specific work represented in dialogue with the architectural and archaeological sculptures that she called “Frustula,” from a term meaning fragments or broken-off pieces. Buchanan’s intimate photographic portraits will be shown alongside key examples of her best-known works, including small sculptures of southern vernacular dwellings or shacks.
The exhibition also includes a three-channel video installation, “June 10–19, 2016,” documenting four of Buchanan’s existing site-specific earthworks in locations across the American southeast and filmed after the artist’s death.
Buchanan’s practice is informed by the histories of the locations where she lived and worked, including New York, Georgia and Florida. The artist explored themes of memory and historical injustice, monument and ruin, as well as the forms and histories of southern vernacular architecture and site markers and meeting places.
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