American, 1940-2015

Shack, Truman Place, 1991

Wood, galvanized tin
11.25 x 15.5 x 9.5 in.

Collection of The Bass
Gift of Jock Truman and Eric Green

Influenced by her upbringing in the American South, the works of Beverly Buchanan are deeply rooted aesthetically and geographically in the Southern vernacular, embracing abstract expressionism, land art, and post-minimalism in her execution of drawings, sculptures, photography, and paintings. As she explores ideas of response and memory in her works, Buchanan describes her artistic practice as a “process of creating objects that relate to the physical world through perception rather than reproduction,” creating a poetic persistence of memory, while representing place as identity, and as portrait, to serve as a testament to human resilience in the face of race and poverty.

As a child, Buchanan often traveled with her father, who was an agricultural advisor to the state of South Carolina and a dean at the state college, on his visits to farms and to the families who lived in shack communities throughout the state, later inspiring her to recreate those shacks drawn from these memories. Buchanan is as much interested in the shack itself and its inhabitants as she is by the process that the shack builders used, relying on found, discarded objects to make her sculptures.

Much like the photographic works of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, Buchanan’s shacks go beyond documentation as within each shack emerges stories and personalities, celebrating the hopes and dreams of this long-ignored community. Driven by a sense of urgency to preserve the integrity, resilience, and spirit of their inhabitants, Buchanan recreates and reiterates these subjects, giving place an identity as she instills the shack as portrait.