Gary Buckendorf

With this work I start with random lines or areas of color and follow the lead of accidents. Yes, it’s like making faces in my oatmeal. With repetition, over the years, an internal process has emerged. The process continues to evolve and now I feel engaged in something that is in some way part of nature. Maybe this is the world of potential where you can find plans for the internal combustion engine, 2+2 = 4, and things you could have said and done. Maybe this is where some abstract expressionists found a basis for their work. I find exploring this imaginary world less disturbing than hiking through the new industrial activity in in the real high desert near my first home in the American west. I promise you there is nothing unreal about the imaginary.


These pictures are often dour and spooky. This can be partly due to the properties of charcoal, or my sensibility and mental state and maybe because of an encroaching general wariness. But I try to make all my pictures beautiful. Beauty as a goal helps me to make sense of things and provides a track to run on so this explorer does not get lost. Also, a well-made picture is necessarily beautiful. I want the pictures to be grave and serious, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Sometimes I may start a black heavy line with a sense of grief and anger. Off it runs - thick and sinister - arching across the page when it bumps into another line and suddenly becomes a joke. Not my joke - just a joke. Now sometimes I keep those. In this way I believe I’m collaborating with mysteries the accidents are part of.


Making these pictures has reiterated for me something that I have heard before: when one begins a project, fear must be dealt with at the outset. I like some accidents more than others as the images take shape. To remove one accident in the hope for something better requires courage. A small amount- something about the size of what I have. This is probably good practice. I- we - may need more later.

Gary Buckendorf
Dec. 5, 2019

Photo of Gary Buckendorf

Oil Paintings


Olivebridge Charcoal Drawings