|Installation view of "Medicine Woman" at Brooklyn Museum, 2016. Photo: Jonathan Dorado|
"Medicine Woman" is gift from the artist, facilitated by her friend and fellow Athenian Prudence Lopp before Buchanan’s death. It stands out among her work even as it clearly comes from the same hand, for “Medicine Woman” is much larger than the scale at which Buchanan usually worked. It uses found objects as in her other sculptures, but in wider variety, and she applied copious decoration to the figure, which also has a name: Evelyn.
In 1993, the artist wrote: “I was always looking for something for ‘HER.’ Something to add and mix [to this] ‘Healer.’” The sculpture took the artist almost seven months to complete and includes wood, glass, textile, paper, plastic, paint, stone, ceramic, foam core, masking tape, metal wire and aluminum foil. Some of these objects were adhered with glue that was failing regularly, but Buchanan was elderly and unable to perform the conservation herself. For this reason, "Medicine Woman" has never been on view at the Georgia Museum of Art. When the Brooklyn Museum approached the Georgia Museum of Art about borrowing “Medicine Woman” for its large retrospective exhibition “Beverly Buchanan—Ruins and Rituals,” which closed earlier this month, its staff agreed to cover the costs of conservation.
to hold the work firmly in place. A bit of sleuthing allowed her and Harris to determine where nearly every detached element had been placed originally and, essentially, put the jigsaw puzzle back together. Jones Abbe’s painstaking work should pay dividends, not only for visitors to the Brooklyn Museum, but also for future visitors to the Georgia Museum of Art, where “Medicine Woman” can now be displayed.