I love books. They’re all over the house. In stacks, falling on top of one another. Holding stories, worlds yet to be discovered, to be re-read, some old, some new, pristine. And in these paintings by the American artist Jordan Buschur there’s an acknowledgement of this gravity, the power that a book holds. What it says about the person; the subject matter, its place on the shelf, its age and treatment. The book tells both the authors story and that of its reader.
When we enter a house, an apartment, its to the bookshelf we go, peruse, looking for indicators, an insight into that person. Books hold the clues to an interior life, a thought process, a way of thinking. That is why we see stacks of books in these pictures, why Buschur’s compositions reveal fragments; a line here, a title there, the angles acute, the background irrelevant, only the treatment visible. Here she strips the book of its function, releases it and turns it into a psychological device. The object becomes a way into meaning, a philosophy of living.
Those of us that do read spend many hours in another world, our imagination filled with the ideas of another. This dialogue opens up a gap in spacetime through which we glimpse a world of possibility and doubt. Reading teaches us to question and think, to see the world in a variety of hues and textures, to bring a surreal aspect to our ordinary existence. That’s why I love these simple paintings. And here’s what Buscher has to say about the series:
My paintings use the avenues of figure, still life and landscape to implant ordinary images with psychological meanings. This body of work focuses on an implied human presence through depictions of a collection of books. The groupings of books, stacked or on shelves, act as a stand in for one person’s accumulated knowledge and personality.Some stacks of books remain blank: full of potential or conversely, impenetrable. Other groups of books include written words and imagery to act as clues into meaning. Linking these symbols to an image steers the interpretation away from literal depictions and towards a psychological response to the combination of objects and meaning.