Sep 28, 2023
Oct 27, 2023

Deborah Buck: Into the Wild: To Crash is Divine

Deborah Buck
Curated by Jennifer Baahng

a black arrow pointing downward

La MaMa Galleria is honored to present Into The Wild: To Crash is Divine. Into The Wild presents the pathbreaking, allegorical works of protean painter and ardent colorist Deborah Buck. It is a focused solo exhibition showcasing nearly two dozen recent works. An exploration into contemporary concerns, the works are incarnations of Buck’s inquiries on social attitudes, culture and blasphemy, and emotional freedom at once personal and universal. Elegant and polemical, the art included in Into The Wild attests to Deborah Buck’s arrival at a distinctive narrative filled with fantastically Fauvistic personas and cautionary tales. Colliding secular with the sacred, the exhibition hints at essential codes that unravel the icons and slogans of our time; protest and provoke. Into The Wild invites a raw and fresh conversation with playful aesthetics, humor, and imprudence. It is a baroque fantasy fortress that upholds active pursuit and the joy of queueing.

Born in Mount Holly, New Jersey, Deborah Buck grew up on a farm. While her father’s dominant voice punctuated her youth, the home provided a fertile environment for creative exploration, which led to the distinctively unique, sculpted, archetypical visual motifs later in her art. In 1975, she attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where, at age 18, she was mentored by Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still, who told her: “Nobody can teach you to paint – you already know how. But to be taken seriously, you should learn everything about the world around you – religion, politics, design, science.” She moved to New York City in 1990 and joined the wave of female artists who gained prominence in New York in the 90s.

Photo credit: Deborah Buck, The Eyes Have It, 2023 Acrylic, pastel and sumi ink on Arches paper 54” x 180”

Deborah Buck is a New York-based artist who has been painting and exhibiting for over 40 years, recently expanding into collage and cinematic wall-size murals. She produces works that are surreal and humorous, using a vigorous approach to texture, color, and composition, and merging together pattern, abstraction, and figuration. Her works, on paper and board, reveal long-held interests in absurdity, romanticism, and the darker side of fairy tales, creating rich allegorical narratives of invented and fantastical creatures in dreamlike landscapes. Buck has exhibited widely at museums and non-profit art centers, including recent exhibitions: Transforming the Figure, Southampton Arts Center, NY, 2022; Future Perfect/Imperfect, 2022, Silvermine Arts Center, New Canaan, CT; Nor'Easter, 2020, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT; Deborah Buck: Retrospective, 2012, The Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY. Buck’s work is in the collections of The Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY; The Heckscher Museum of Art Huntington, NY; and Beth Rudin DeWoody, The Bunker, West Palm Beach, Florida; among others. She has been a faculty at the School of Visual Arts, a Trustee of The Pratt Institute, and is currently a Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture council member, where her career began as a resident. | @deborahbuck

La MaMa Galleria


Founded in 1984, La Galleria is a nonprofit gallery committed to nurturing experimentation in the visual arts. La Galleria encourages an active dialogue between new media, performance, the plastic and visual arts, curatorial projects, and educational initiatives. It serves the East Village community by offering diverse programming to an inter-generational audience, and expanding the parameters of a traditional gallery space. As a non-profit, La Galleria is able to provide artists and curators with unique exhibition opportunities that are largely out of reach in a commercial gallery setting.

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