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WILLIAM BUCHINA

ABOUT

The panoply of references contained within William Buchina’s acrylic and ink paintings serve both to reveal and to obscure their own complex meanings. The works share visual similarities with Victorian etchings or even contemporary graphic novels, but close observation of their details reveal Buchina’s Surrealist leanings. He creates dystopian narrative scenes, culling imagery from innumerable sources, building satirical mash-ups. The process of finding the disparate source material is as significant to Buchina’s art making as actually applying materials to canvas. At the intersection of his collection of found objects, old and new, Buchina builds layered compositions that challenge both the mind and the eye.


William Buchina has been featured in solo gallery exhibitions in New York and Brooklyn, as well as Upstate New York and abroad, and has been the subject of profiles in Interview and The New York Times Magazine. He lives and works in London.

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SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2022

Recollections of Collapse, Oneroom, London
2021

Low Information Settings, Hollis Taggart, New York, NY
2019

Between Objects & Actions, SLAG Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2018

312 Bowery: London, private venue, London, UK
2016

In and Around Water, SLAG Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2015

Time to Speak a Human Language, Garis & Hahn, New York, NY
2014

Lower Than the Lowest Animal, Garis & Hahn, New York, NY

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2023

Land of Honey, Leila Heller, New York, NY

2021

The Loneliest Sport, Spazio Amanita, New York, NY

Élan Vital, MoCA Westport, CT

2020

Figure as Form, Hollis Taggart, New York, NY

Look Again, A Survey of Contemporary Painting, Hollis Taggart Contemporary, NewYork, NY

Taggart Times 7, Hollis Taggart Contemporary, New York, NY

Of Folly, Fortune, Glory, Ruin: William Buchina and Christina Nicodema, Hollis Taggart Contemporary, New York

Highlight: Chelsea, Hollis Taggart, New York, NY

2018

SLAG Gallery, Volta NY, New York, New York, NY

312 Bowery: Paris Two, private venue, Paris, FR

2017

Highlight: New Canaan, Silvermine Arts Center, New Canaan, CT

Highlight: Summer One, Hollis Taggart, New York, NY

2016

Homage to Hieronymous Bosch, National Arts Club, New York, NY

Bondensee, Maximilian Hutz, Bregenz, AT

312 Bowery: Paris One, private venue, Paris, FR

SLAG Gallery, Pulse Art Fair, Miami, FL

312 Bowery: Stagecoach Run Art Festival, Franklin, New York, NY

2015

Antidote for Daily Life, Hawkins, Hudson, NY

312 Bowery: Los Angeles, private venue, Los Angeles
2014

Launch: InSitu Arts, New York
City: Surface & Texture, Dickinson Gallery, New York

2013

6 x 9: The November Show, National Arts Club, New York
Image, Painting, Text, Garis & Hahn, New York

“My works are my attempts to find the pleasing and enthralling elements of mundane and forgotten events and stories. I am trying to watch the spectacle of the present and document it as best as I can using history as a toolbox to do so.”

- William Buchina

Selected Exhibitions

RECOLLECTIONS OF COLLAPSE

ONEROOM, LONDON, 2022

Buchina’s paintings, the scenes from an imagined documentary of political history, act as frozen moments of a haphazard re-telling of the past. Placing images together
which are often not relevant to each other yet tell the same story, for Buchina, displays the tantalising interconnectedness of political regimes.


His exhibition delineates these various themes. When looking to the essence of these extraordinary ‘history paintings’ - they endeavor to draw attention to show us the illusory and transient nature of power, and glory and ruin, illustrated by the imagery, and products and messaging that are created made to keep the illusion alive.

LOW INFORMATION SETTINGS

HOLLIS TAGGART, NEW YORK, 2021

Buchina’s Low Information Settings, featured paintings and works on paper produced almost exclusively during New York City's pandemic-related shutdowns in 2020 and into 2021. Drawing on an ever-evolving archive of imagery and text, Buchina's works transform threads of social and political happenings into new, largely ambiguous compositional narratives that, in ways, mirror our fractured global landscape and capture our ongoing collective anxieties.

The discovery, examination, and reimagining of a vast array of visual and conceptual references is essential to Buchina’s creative process. His works meld seemingly disparate figures, places, and scenarios into Surrealist-style compositions, offering viewers hints at a narrative trajectory only to leave the trail unfinished or abruptly shifting in a different direction. Produced with the line precision of graphic novels and the bold, flat monochromatics of Pop art, Buchina’s paintings and works on paper are filled with rich detail that compels active viewing and invites personal interpretation.

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BETWEEN OBJECT & ACTION

SLAG GALLERY, BROOKLYN, 2019

William Buchina is an artist driven by a curiosity in ritualized human behavior. His new paintings in Between Objects & Actions further his deconstructions of social norms and conventions, but mark a new body of work that, while continuing to feature his surrealism-infused social realism, incorporates a collage-like technique that gives the work new layers of multi-dimensionality, painterly and conceptual.


Each piece is an assemblage of figures and scenes that Buchina obtains from historical and contemporary mass-produced imagery. He gleans the New York Public Library's century-old, million-image Picture Collection for source material, but also collects it in his everyday perambulations through books, periodicals, and the web. A figure or object found from an old magazine page becomes a feature effected with intricate strokes of black acrylic, but not without both figural and abstract alterations: Masked subjects and small orbs, both hinting at Hieronymus Bosch, appear in Buchina's appropriated scenes along with houses layered over large rooms and more human figures-often faceless to strip them of their emotion-depicted in embrace or conversation.

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TIME TO SPEAK A HUMAN LANGUAGE

GARIS & HAHN, NEW YORK, 2015

Time to Speak a Human Language continues Buchina’s practice from the past 5 years, where the artist has chosen different images, sourced from the internet, rare books, and serendipitously stumbled upon, and re-drawn them, making them his own. In this newest series, he works in a two panel presentation overlaid with small circular images that float above their background as if appearing in a different plane.


As the artist explains it, the circular planes are a close-up while the background is a view from a distance. Buchina, who always uses tremendous care in his use and
application of color, confines it primarily to these spheres in his newest work. Used sparingly, and with the sharp contrast of the black lines, the colors achieve an intensity and inexplicable texture and mood to the overall composition.

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Selected Artworks

Interior Scene #5: Preparing for Guests' Arrival, 2023

Ink on Paper

33 x 46 in. (diptych) (33 x 23 in. each)

Interior Scene #4: Producing a Loaf of Bread, 2023
Ink on Paper
60 x 48 in.

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Four Seasons: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, 2021
Ink on paper
Each: 48 x 48 in.

Three Thousand Shoes #16, 2022
Acrylic on panel in triptych frame
Closed: 30 x 30 in.
Open: 30 x 60 in.

Scenery, in Red #4, 2020
ink on paper
50 x 114 in. (triptych, 50 x 38 in. each)

Three Thousand Shoes #14, 2022
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 in.

Between Objects & Actions #17, 2019
Acrylic on canvas
72 x 96 in.

Scenery in Yellow #6, 2020
ink on paper
52 x 52 inches

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Kuleshov #1-12, 2023
ink on paper
12 x 14 inches each

Sunday #1, 2023
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches

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Seven Deadly Sins, 2023
Ink on paper
30 x 44 inches each

Selected Press

By Laura van Straaten

Sept. 2, 2015

The artist William Buchina is no snob: athletes in motion interest him no more than the fans who cheer or mope on the Jumbotron. The things that fascinate Buchina, he says, are “the contortions of the body, the look on the face, the strain of the muscles” in human movement. And the people he depicts are often cropped or abstracted to just that — the jutting of a jaw, the torque of a torso. Each painting in “Time to Speak a Human Language,” a new solo exhibition comprising nearly a dozen new works on canvas along with some older pieces, features images from many distinct sources. Buchina reworks these images, often altering, layering or abstracting them beyond recognition.

The works in “Time to Speak a Human Language” are by turns anthropological, sociological and diagrammatic. Using images from his long-kept archive of photos and illustrations, Buchina’s paintings reveal his predilection for human stances, motions and gestures of an almost timeless nature: dancing, speechifying, boxing, protesting, singing, communicating in sign language, fencing, practicing yoga, baptizing and being baptized and so on. The show’s curator, Max Teicher, sees the artist as “continuing the conversation Rauschenberg and Ray Johnson started,” and you can see in Buchina’s compositions the ghosts of Johnson’s so-called “moticos” — works layered with imagery from every medium imaginable. Along with Johnson, Buchina cites as an influence the artist Marcel Dzama’s often Dadaist multidisciplinary work, which makes much of movement. (The artist also admires how “there’s always some creepy thing going on” in the work of filmmaker David Lynch.)...

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Take a scenic drive 30 minutes north of the “World Famous” Roscoe Diner in upstate New York, and you’ll soon find yourself amidst the rolling hills, silos, and cow-peppered milk farms of Treadwell, where the soft-spoken visual artist William Buchina has been steadfastly creating new works for his exhibition “Lower Than the Lowest Animal.” Opening April 4 at Garis & Hahn, the show features a collection of highly detailed surrealist paintings that evoke comparisons to M.C. Escher, Salvador Dalí, and Robert Rauschenberg. Each piece is a fractured glimpse into Buchina’s psyche, itself a treasure trove of occult imagery collected over the last decade and re-appropriated with the same eye for composition as Ray Johnson, Buchina’s favorite collage artist. Done in India ink, the paintings unfold like kaleidoscopic dreamscapes, with mysterious illustrated vignettes framed within floating circular windows that intercept the canvas’ harsh perpendicular lines. Taking Buchina’s style, subject matter, and comic-book panel composition into account, comparisons could also be made to Eddie Campbell’s stark line work in Alan Moore’s ambitious graphic novel from the early ’90s, the Jack the Ripper horror anthology, From Hell ...

LOW INFORMATION SETTINGS

By EMANN ODUFU, April 2021

 

2020 was a year for the books. It was one that forced many people to reassess their own mortality and admit their utter helplessness in the face of a pandemic, which shook our society to the core. The foundations on which many had built their hopes and dreams for the future had been exposed as being faulty. It had become blatantly apparent that the systems of leadership to which we had become accustomed to relying on did not have the answers that we were seeking and in this moment, there was no one coming to save us. Instead, we would be left to fend for ourselves.  For many it was a time of reinvention, a time to reflect and reposition. The world as we had known it had entered a new phase, and what was at stake was the survival of an American way of life that seemed to be disintegrating in real time. 

It makes sense that in this time of instability and uncertainty, that William Buchina, while conceptualizing his exhibition Low Information Settings, would choose to take his work in a new direction. Normally his work exists in a space that is steeped in mystery, that speaks to the human condition without getting caught up in the web of the current moment. However, this moment, one that felt as if we were living through history, proved to be too rich of a source of inspiration for William to ignore.  

Artists William Buchina and Christina Nicodema share their examinations of our daily lives in “Of Folly, Fortune, Glory, Ruin” – a two-person exhibition featuring their new and recent paintings at Hollis Taggart, New York. The exhibition highlights Buchina and Nicodema’s distinct but related approaches to examining human rituals and social norms through unexpected, and often strange, dichotomies and juxtapositions.

Their rich and layered paintings capture, in glimpses, the hypocrisies and extravagancies that exist within our regular routines and experiences. This vision is further articulated in the exhibition title, which takes its name from a line in William Thackeray’s poem Vanitas Vanitatum (Vanity of Vanities).

Buchina’s paintings meld a wide range of imagery, symbols, and references to produce Surrealist-style amalgamations that capture the common and inextricable relationships between the everyday and the bizarre...

William Buchina’s disquieting, enigmatic, and prodigiously complex paintings are one artist’s answer to the relentless media barrage that defines our visual culture, counteracting its torrent of images with a seemingly inexhaustible barrage of his own.

His paintings adopt their form directly from graphic novels and comic books, arranging the surface into gridded panels or large, busy, single compositions interrupted by pictorial inserts. Rendered in stark black-and-white with interludes of flat color, they simultaneously reassert and undermine the power of the image, with the discrete panels fusing into an implied, almost inchoate narrative that, in the majority of the works, allows no one element to stand out on its own. The individual image finds its strength only in its interdependence.

In Time to Speak a Human Language, Buchina’s current show at Garis & Hahn on the Lower East Side, which includes twenty-one paintings on canvas and paper, there is an installation on the gallery’s lower level that deliberately gives the game away: three sides of the room are covered floor-to-ceiling with the artist’s reference materials — torn-out magazine photos, book illustrations and other commercially-derived images, along with small found objects displayed on tiny shelves that are all but lost in the visual clutter...

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