Dixon Gallery and Gardens
September 23, 2012 - January 6, 2013
"It may be fair to say that Jim Buchman forges seeming opposites into reconciled wholes. His large columnar sculptures, a body of work seen for the first time here at the Dixon, are austere and self contained, but they also possess a raw power and an energetic surface quality that command attention. His forms are reminiscent of both daring modernist abstractions from the early twentieth century and antiquity’s most elegant caryatids (from the Greek term for sculpted female figures, serving as columns or pillars). They are human in scale, but large enough to be daunting; they feel simultaneously contemporary and set in place by ancients.
An alchemist of sorts, Buchman has spent many years seeking a perfect recipe for the cast concrete that is his primary medium. He eventually found a mixture of sand, water and other cement-based ingredients and additives that lend his material the malleability to be worked into the forms he imagines. While the concrete is in its provisional state, Buchman gouges, scars, striates and smoothes its surface on a giant revolving apparatus of his own invention, its closest relation perhaps a wood turner’s lathe. The same recipe must then dry and cure durably and without cracking, or the work risks becoming a Buchman discard. There have been many more discards than survivors.
Jim Buchman is a Memphis native. He received his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and spent many years in New York City, making and showing his work. He was awarded one of the coveted Guggenheim Fellowships in 1977.
-Kevin Sharp, Director, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN
Read Frederic Koeppel's November 8, 2012 review in The Commercial Appeal.