Hand-embroidered tea towels extolling hearth
and home often conjure realms of domestic bliss.
In Zoë Buckman’s work, however, objects such as these carry weighted meaning, frequently revealing domestic violence.
At this year’s Dallas Art Fair, Albertz Benda gallery will present Buckman’s provocative work, which continues its exploration of traditional gender roles within the domestic sphere.
Buckman views the female side of this dynamic as potentially empowering while simultaneously oppressive.
“I am most interested in work that expresses the gray areas or nuances between two seemingly polarizing ideas,” explains the British-born, Brooklyn-based artist.
Buckman’s work comes from a very personal place. She began this series while caring for her terminally ill mother who passed away last year. “I wanted to make work about my mother, but it was still too raw,” she says.
Her mother’s experiences as a survivor of sexual abuse, however, remain woven throughout the work. “Trauma doesn’t just ruin one person’s life.
It’s generational,” she explains. Buckman’s own experience as a victim of sexual assault also informs her creativity. In many ways, the artist speaks in a collective voice.
The work, she adds, “is about what I’ve experienced, or people have spoken to me about.”
Having a daughter seven years ago added another dimension to Buckman’s practice.
“When I became a mother, that became a big focus of my work. I feel like I’m returning to those ideas right now.
Looking back on things I’ve experienced in my life and the political climate becoming more urgent has led to my work about the female experience.”
Buckman also explores the double standard regarding child rearing that expects mothers to take full parental responsibility while fathers tend to get societal points for watching over their progeny.
These, she says, are “the expectations of ours that need to be examined.” Buckman’s thoughtful work is more reflective than reactive.
It takes her about two years to create a new body of work, making it important to note that the Me Too movement dovetailed with her practice rather than informed it.
By the time Buckman finished this labor-intensive series, the ideas she began exploring became part of the public discourse.
It is more a function of coincidence, then, that her work seems to embody the current ethos of this larger cultural moment.
For more information: หวยฮานอย