Beverly Buchanan (American, 1940–2015) examined southern vernacular architecture in her vibrant and expressive sculpture, paintings and photographs. Throughout her formative years, she often accompanied her father, who served as the Dean of the School of Agriculture at South Carolina State College, as he visited farmers and sharecroppers throughout South Carolina. Buchanan began a career in medicine but attended the Art Students League in New York in 1971 under the tutelage of the renowned Abstract Expressionist painter Norman Lewis and was further inspired by her mentor Romare Bearden. In 1977, when Buchanan decided to pursue art exclusively, it was evident that the humble dwellings and rural landscapes she saw in her youth inspired her.
Throughout her illustrious career, Buchanan has created works from community sourced materials that are socially conscious, and celebrates the character, richness, and vibrancy of the people, homes and places she encountered in her early years. Spelman’s collection, primarily gifts from Lucinda and Robert Bunnen and Ruth Shack, includes assemblages, sculpture, photography, works on paper and represents several phases of the artist’s career.