Kirsty Buchanan

With a deceptively light touch, Kirsty Buchanan reworks historical tropes to carve out new spaces for the feminine within the history of art. Moving between drawing, painting and film, she addresses the representation of women at various historical moments. Often working with impoverished materials such as scraps of cotton and rolls of paper, her artworks are fleeting and momentary, existing only temporarily in opposition to much traditional art practice.

Much of Buchanan’s work is inspired by a fascination with the historical framing of strong females as temptress, inspiration or spiritual channel. Seeing a correlation between the most iconic nudes in Renaissance painting and depictions of women posing in contemporary lads magazines, Buchanan began taking the poses for her recent paintings from 1970’s Playboy magazines. Painting the womens’ seductive poses through material onto paper, her oil paint is heavily diluted so the figures appear ephemeral and transitory.

Drawing inspiration from the Pre-Raphaelite period, Buchanan has recently become fixated with the poet and artist Lizzie Siddal whose artistic output has been largely ignored in favour of her role as muse to the group. Rather than dismiss this perspective, Buchanan explores it, giving it weight and attention outside of a masculine viewpoint. Her work gives space to traditionally feminine themes from the intimate to the mystical, tapping into a new wave of feminism that reclaims female associations traditionally treated with suspicion.

Kate Neave, 2015

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Gleaming Girl, Oil on cotton, 2015

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