SOMETHING TO READ
Firmly rooted as a multidisciplinary artist with a representational pop-art focus, Peter Buchman’s (b. 1959 Jacksonville) mixed media paintings both provoke and entice your eye at any given moment. His roughed up surfaces of layered information along with the hidden ‘Art Brut’ immigrant portraits investigate deeply the mysteries of the world around him. He received a BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design and participated in a six week Sculpture Residency at The School of Visual Arts, NY, 2010. Exhibited & collected extensively throughout the U.S. with solo shows at Kidder Smith Gallery, Boston, Ma; and The Vered Gallery, Easthampton, NY. Group exhibitions have included The Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE, Hong Kong Biennale, 2007, Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY., Montclair University Gallery, Montclair, N.J.,The Ball State University Gallery, Columbus Indiana and The Other Art Fair, Bristol, England . His exhibitions have been reviewed in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Southampton, Press. Buchman’s voice-over paintings can now be seen at DTR Modern in Palm Beach, FLA. and The Sara Nightingale Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY.
To explain that Buchman’s word paintings are ‘A Figure Of Speech’ is underestimating the level of soulfulness at which these works reside. They are markings directly from the artist’s hand yet are indications of many people before him. These are words from familiar phrases, music albums, his funny brand of irony and the human form itself. The Chinese Terra Cotta Army is evidence of Power, so isn’t language evidence of power? King Ramses the 2nd had powerful images of himself carved within pictorial hieroglyphics showing royalty and greatness. Artist Anton Gormley said, ‘The Body is our most proficient vehicle.’ With ’Language being our soul’ Buchman is seeking visual discipline as composition in the construction of his word paintings and within his drawings.
Two current directions have one common symbolic thread and that is his thoughts on Immigration. In Peter Buchman’s first mixed media word painting titled ‘Pardon My French’ the artist culls from linguistic phrases in a journey to immortalize how wonderfully other cultures have contributed to the American Diaspora. He first accumulates pages of notes and ideas in his sketchbook from which to edit. Then the phrases and the look of the letters are all intentionally reconstructed according to cadence, sound and alliteration while also focusing on the textural negative space between and around the words. He is intentionally creating a new pictorial language where he can ironically vent and at the same time pay tribute to Mia Lin’s Vietnam Memorial as well as the synagogues of Prague where the beautiful
texts carry the load of all humanity.
Three other equally important works in his oeuvre are ‘Black Magic White Lightning’ which juxtaposes common everyday Black & White provocations into a street style of focus and humor with artistic presentation. The second is a parody on Art Auction catalogues used by the professional galleries to pass judgement on historic and creative skill using art identification terms. His ’No Portrait No Landscape, ’ vertical painting poetically mocks knowledge and itself in an endless bantering list style. The third example of Buchman’s disciplined wordplay is titled, ‘Once Upon A Time’. In a manner of speaking, we are all running out of time, however Buchman’s soliloquy and ironic eye has fun with the notion that with humor and self effacement in a street-run-on sentence kind of rap he can get away with making fun and pointing out the obvious. Which isn’t always so obvious.
The second direction based on the flight of many immigrants, or journeymen as the artist prefers to say can be so misunderstood. The Greeks had an obsession with the human body and Buchman’s figurative charcoal and ink wash drawings are as impressive as well. Jean Dubuffet invented the term ‘Art Brut’, which roughly translates to Raw Art. It was a style of art that was outside of the normal studio-taught system. The artist borrows the term for his dark and mysterious brutish characters because the category inspires street graffiti, insanity, travelers as quote,’The Others’, and the unknown with primitive qualities. Outsider art or ‘Outsiders’ embracing immigration as a focus on the hidden, the roofless or wandering person wanting to be welcomed somewhere or anywhere. They are the stud, the monster, the clown, the unknown and the inhuman, however Buchman chooses to portray them quietly masked and usually, poignantly from the back. His choice is to adorn each immigrant with a mysterious camouflage of sadness as a facade of being masked or hidden, who beg to be normal. These charcoal and ink-wash paintings on large scale rag paper grab at your psyche, and at your curiosity.
Collectors include: Howard Schultz, Nicole Miller, Beth Rudin Dewoody, Ciara Denver Boyle & Peter Boyle, David Yurman and Kelly Wearstler.