This oil on canvas, “The Fighting
Cock of Old England Dismays the Armada,” is only one of the
28 beautiful creations by local artist Malcolm Bucknall featured
at the d berman gallery until Nov. 24. From Elizabethan-themed
work to gothic subjects and cartoonish drawings, Bucknall’s
collection depicts magic and transformation, where magic represents
life’s mysteries and transformation is the way to amplify human
qualities into instant, universal connections.
While there’s an underlying
seriousness to Bucknall’s work, ultimately it is light hearted
and appears as if out of a fairy tale book. It is reminiscent
of the time where you’re a child and things are all so wonderful
and strange and magical, Bucknall said. “[Do] you believe in
magic?” he sternly asked.
Bucknall does. When Bucknall
was a little boy during World War II, he would never enter the
back room of his family’s home alone because he was afraid of
his family’s big radio set.
He remembers wondering where
the voice was coming from and thinking the black netting on
the back of the radio looked very much like a witch’s hat. Soon
he believed there was a witch inside the radio — one who would
come out and get him if he was ever alone in the room with the
“And that’s the way kids are,”
Bucknall said. “Imaginative and naive.”
Hung along the white walls of
the quaint, intimate space of d berman gallery, the collection
of framed drawings and paintings mirror walls of family portraits.
Along one wall is an aristocratic, ostrich-headed grandfather
slumped in a chair.
The use of animal heads on human
bodies is very common, Bucknall said, from minotaurs to Jesus
represented as the lamb.
Until this collection, Bucknall
had never used an iconic celebrity head on an Elizabethan body.
In a gold Baroque frame is musician Willie Nelson as a troubadour.
“It is a little bit of a departure,”
Bucknall said. The idea here is ancestry, he said, where someone
who is iconic in our culture is the perfect thing to use as
an ancestry image for an Elizabethan portraiture.
Bucknall used a 2006 picture
of Nelson taken by English photographer Mike Kelly at the South
By Southwest music festival.
It’s ironic that Bucknall turned
to a musical festival’s picture since on the poster for 1995
Lollapalooza was “The Falling Dog,” a Bucknall painting that
was also the cover art for rock band Jesus Lizard’s Down.
This success is only a small
part of Bucknall’s resume. A UT graduate and founder [and first
president of the UT Student Art Association], Bucknall said
he really got into painting when he was 16 and that since then,
he has been hooked. Now he paints seven days a week.
“I’m a nut, a maniac, obsessive,”
WHAT: Malcolm Bucknall
WHERE: d berman gallery, 1701 Guadalupe St.
WHEN: Through Nov. 24; Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
and by appointment
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