College of Arts and Sciences

Beverly Buchanan


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Garden Ruins - Sculpture Garden

Beverly BuchananMany artists undergo startling stylistic changes during the course of their life's work. This is the case with Beverly Buchanan (born 1940, North Carolina) as evidenced by the difference between her outdoor stone sculpture Garden Ruins and the indoor sculptures and drawings on the theme of the southern shack.

Garden Ruins is a strong, emotive piece composed of giant stones. It is a monument to a previous time and culture, a romantic statement, filled with nostalgia and grandeur. Buchanan's current work is devoted exclusively to exploring the shack as it exists throughout the rural South. It is a cultural phenomenon, an architectural form loaded with racial, social, political and economic meaning. Also taken case by case, as Buchanan does, each shack tells a particular, personal history.

With a stylistic approach that embraces the aesthetics of folk art, Buchanan builds shacks from scraps of cedar, pine cardboard and tin on a variety of scales. She has also sculpted modest contents for these homes: a table, a chair, a hat hung on the wall. Exhibited with these items are texts-poignant stories about the homeowners that frequently focus on the improved lives of the inhabitants' children and grandchildren. Buchanan's shacks possess great dignity. They celebrate the strong constitutions and valuable legacy of those who lived within and survived to the best of their abilities in this poverty of circumstance.

About the Artist

BEVERLY BUCHANAN (b. 1940, Fuquay, NC)

A graduate of Columbia University (New York) and Bennett College (Greensboro, NC), this sculptor has received numerous awards and honors, including a Distinguished Alumni Citation Award (1997) from Bennett College, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1994 and 1980), The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award (1994), and John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1980). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad, including Scotland. Her legacy will be perhaps the "shacks" which she creates by first photographing the dwellings, then drawing them with pastel oil sticks and, finally, constructing models of them from scraps of wood and metal. Although criticized by some for the poverty reflected in the shacks, Ms. Buchanan believes her work to be a true reflection of the Southern vernacular architecture and the reality of current places and their surrounding landscape.

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