Deborah Buck Interviewed by Tanya Merrill:  Painting a cast of characters, human and animal.  Oct 11, 2023

“I don’t want to be a windup girl,” Deborah Buck told me in her studio, pointing to a female creature with a crank sticking out of her back in the left-hand corner of a recent painting. Buck graciously walked me through the body of work heading to her solo show at La MaMa Galleria, a nonprofit gallery and an extension of the experimental theater club of the same name founded in 1961 by Ellen Stewart in New York City’s East Village. These are some of Buck’s most extensive works to date, and this is the first time she has gone beyond the two-dimensional format. She refers to them as murals, which she creates by dissecting elements from previous works and collaging them to produce layered scenes populated by hybrid figures occupying the panoramic drama of history painting. These creatures wear pearls around their necks; they chomp monster-like teeth that mimic the same string of ivory beads; their painted bodies drip down the paper’s surface. The context of La MaMa Galleria is fitting with its affiliation to the theater, as Buck speaks of these beings as a cast of characters.  —Tanya Merrill


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Deborah Buck

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Deborah Buck Heavy Is The Head, 2023 Acrylic, sumi ink on Archers paper 55 x 156 in. Detail


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