Statement & Bio
Serving as amplifications of industry heritage and environmental impacts, Alex’s main body of work pays ethnographic tribute to past and present cultures by expanding from the industrious nature itself to include impacted societies. Plunging into these environments recognizes that tasks of utilitarian purpose can fail to acknowledge aesthetics and beauty around the radius of their enterprise. Traditionally an ode to conquest and adventure, the visual representations of seagoers can be imbalanced to favor self-touting stories over emotion, heritage, and ethnography. Alex’s 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 rusted steel cable and all the imaginable in between. Alex achieves this by not only recognizing patterns that really work, but by the way he curates the types of materials that work within those patterns, making sure that material carries on the histories and stories in which it was originally used for, but ending up with a delicate texture that challenges its rugged lifecycle.
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 becomes fragmented, littering our oceans and marine ecosystems. Orchestrating subtle textures and curvature in sculptural form, Alex suspends the material's current state and focuses on the stories held within the industrious fiber patinas to say, “this shall not go to waste.” Every segment is unique and treated as a scarce commodity, like a thumbprint from the sea. Every 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 the innovation of 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, and tackles environmental subjects through humor and poignant metaphors. 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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