Using sculpture, photography, and neon, multidisciplinary artist Zoë Buckman investigates feminism, identity, and cultural norms in modern society.Read More
Zoë Buckman was born in Hackney, East London. She graduated from The International Center of Photography, New York in 2009 and was awarded an Art Matters Grant in 2017. Buckman's mother, Jennie Buckman, was a writer and an acting coach who taught at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Buckman credits her 'appreciation of language and the power of words' to the Shakespeare monologue recitals performed by her mother's students in their living room.
In Things She'll Never Forget (2020), Buckman embroidered meditations on motherhood and relationships in black letters on a piece of white cloth and surrounded the edges with a thick band of white lace. When asked about her relationship with text, particularly in her embroidery and her titles in an interview with Elephant, she reflects, 'I look at text in my work as an opportunity to expand the viewer's experience. Sometimes the language is ugly but the execution is warm or inviting. Language can give humour to something painful, or can remind one of a whisper or something said in passing that is actually weighty or sinister. I'm really glad that titles for works exist as a concept because ... it gives me yet another layer in which I can add to or play with meaning.'
In Let Her Rave (2017), Buckman created an installation of secondhand wedding dresses sewn onto boxing gloves. This series was inspired by a line in John Keats' Ode to Melancholy: 'Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows / Imprison her soft hand, and let her rave.' Although Keats is Buckman's favourite poet, this line bothered her. In Interview magazine, she explained, 'It struck me as amazing that women need to A. be given permission to feel the way they feel and B. be told that we must be physically restrained by a male in order to have our little hysterical moment.' The resulting works were presented in clusters hanging from metal chains, suggesting marriage as simultaneously weighty, strong, and delicate, as well as its impact on womanhood.
Zoë Buckman's solo exhibitions include She Says: Women, Words and Power, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach (2021); The Box, Pippy Houldsworth, London (2020); Let Her Rave, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles (2018); Imprison Her Soft Hand, Project for Empty Space, Newark (2017); Every Curve, Papillion Art, Los Angeles (2016); and Loos, Milk Gallery, New York (2010).
The artist has participated in the following group exhibitions: Young Gifted and Black, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg (2015); Abstraction Now, Leila Heller Gallery, New York (2014); Pulse Projects, Pulse Art Fair, New York (2014); Small is Beautiful, Flowers East Gallery, London (2013); and Hidden Gems, Getty Images Gallery, London (2012).
Carren Wong | Ocula | 2021