Current Exhibition

Annabelle Buck - The Life Within


Opening Reception:

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In Annabelle Buck’s paintings you get the impression that she is outside the tent  staring in, engaging her world with an almost sociological empathy. Pausing time—she works from photographs—these records of relationships with friends, family and environments expand, developing into paintings whose reluctance towards overt intimacy arises from a suspicion of Buck’s inability to ever fully explain it all.


Depicting the world around us goes to the heart of why humans make images. While Buck obviously has empathy for her subjects, the profound insight that she offers—and the cleverness of her approach—is an empathy of commiseration with her audience. Buck understands that even while sitting at the center of all the relationships her works depict, like us, she can only scrutinize them to the extent of her own limited understanding.


"In making an image the story is in the details, which are often quite shallow. I hope my paintings organize these details to the extent that the audience might catch fleeting glimpses of character. I’m interested in what the audience brings to the work—how they project their own relationships upon these characteristics and fill in the gaps. It’s like we’re solving a puzzle together where occasionally you believe you might capture a moment of truth, but you will never really know."


This isn’t to say Buck doesn’t feel deeply for the subjects in her works - many ARE friends, family and intimate settings - but the depth of her wish to know more through the creation of an image is such that this schism sits on the surface, generously inviting her audience to work with her towards a shared sense of understanding.


"I like to imagine a story in my head and I think you really get to do that exploring an image. I find myself attempting to experience other peoples’ feelings and emotions almost as if I’m experiencing them myself in some ways. It feels good to be engrossed in something. That’s what’s so compelling about it."


Exploring this gap between knowing and understanding is observable in Buck’s blunt but precise handling of contemporary cultural and art historical references in her work. A periodical, tapestry or bowl of fruit evade metaphor through their lack of artifice. They’re not dressed up, robbed of sentiment and set off to the side to linger in the periphery, which is exactly the point - this is life and that is what Buck is attempting to capture.


Buck’s paintings remind us that in our contemporary world defined by an information economy little interested in the values of nuance and subjectivity, an approach toward seeking understanding together, with shared goals and shortcomings, feels incredibly refreshing.