Here! here! (dogs)
Oil on linen
60,2 x 92 x 2 cm (23 5/8 x 36 1/4 x 3/4 in)
Titled and dated verso
In the past year, during the long periods of enforced isolation, Sarah Buckner delved intensely into literature, blurring the boundaries between fictional and real situations, and conjuring images from those literary worlds. It is easy to see the appeal, for example, of entering the fantastic and exuberant world of Virginia Woolf’s fantastic novel Orlando, published in 1928. Reading Woolf’s narration of a young nobleman’s inexplicably timeless existence over more than 350 years, and equally inexplicable transformation midway, sometime in the mid-18th century, into a noblewoman, can itself be a transformative experience. Even as the book is a scathing, if at times humorous, indictment of woman’s inequity before law, art, and life, it is also a novel in which everything is possible.
Yet Buckner’s reading of Orlando functioned not as literary compendium of imagery but sparked an equivalent lightness of spirit, as even the wit and economy of Woolf’s narration left traces in the works the artist painted in a loose dialogue with the book.
Here! here! (dogs) is loosely inspired by the figure's love of dogs. At the same time, impressions of changed every-day live in the past year—the increased attention to nature, the feeling of time standing still: i.e. being frozen, or the association of approaching a lighter, happier period—played a role in the development of this painting.
To Buckner the world with all its experiences—literary or otherwise—functions as a poetic springboard. Unafraid of the vulnerability inherent in image making and unconcerned by the need to make us understand exactly what makes an image meaningful to her, Buckner’s paintings develop through her practice, feeling, listening, exploring, painting.