Statement & Bio
Serving as amplifications of industry heritage, patterns and processes evident in these largely scaled studies pays ethnographic tribute by expanding from the industrious nature itself. Though a plunge into this environment can be at times both exciting and solitary, tasks of utilitarian purpose can fail to acknowledge aesthetics and beauty within their enterprise. Skewing the polarities between function and design combines, compliments, and maintains the spirit of both. Traditionally an ode to conquest and adventure, the visual representations of aquatic lifestyles can be imbalanced to favor self-touting stories of elbow-grease over emotion, heritage, and ethnography. The focus on this particular void in maritime cultural preservation shifts certain viewpoints, highlighting aspects of nautical culture, community and creativity in forms ranging from a single strand of hair, to a rusted steel cable and all the imaginable in between.
Cultural preservation is not the only focus though. The sustainability of Alex's material, which is primarily retired ship's rope, highlights an unsustainable practice through the sheer quantity of synthetic materials that give way to strain and become fragmented, littering our oceans and marine ecosystems. Through Alex's main body of work orchestrating subtle textures and curvature in sculptural form, he suspends the materials current state and focuses on the stories held within the industrious fiber patinas. Every piece is unique, like a thumbprint from the sea, and each sculpture carries with it a historical value as well as artistic. Some materials were used in duties such as assisting in the turning of the U.S.S. Constitution in Boston Harbor, and others equivocal in nature also gain value as they become discontinued due to innovation in synthetic industrial textiles.
Alex’s sculptural work is derived from resources inspired by the maritime industry. Periodically this includes material with historical value. Conceptually, there are deep layers of semiotics, symbolism, and logography. The fibrous and tactile qualities in his main body of work are extremely satisfying for viewers and collectors to discuss as the pieces carry a strong presence, adding character and statement to any architectural setting. He works heavily by commission with an average of 3-4 weeks lead time.
Alex Buchanan (Born in Boston, Massachusetts) studied sculpture, printmaking and photography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Alex also served four years active duty and began his journeys at sea in the U.S. Coast Guard. He focuses on the cultural relevance in his maritime influences and conveys them intriguingly by layering inclusive translations of coastal humanities in semiotic form. He exhibits work regularly and was a 2020 SMFA at Tufts Traveling Fellow recipient. Alex lives in New Bedford with his wife and daughter.
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