Through the use of the domestic cornerstone of used tea towels, Zoe Buckman explores the environment of the home as a source of both oppression and empowerment. Buckman employs the subject of domesticity as a platform on which to critique and disclose the many lived realities of women.
Heavy Rag employs text from diverse sources, ranging from other women’s responses to her work; things men have said to her; memories from teenage trauma; instructions for domination and submission; and words penned by the artist’s late mother, playwright and teacher Jennie Buckman. Appropriating her mother’s words and exploring the inevitable nature of their shared experiences, Buckman crafts a multi-generational portrait of the female experience — the bleeding, bruising, attempted cover-up, pain and complex pleasure.
Buckman began working on her latest series in early 2018 upon learning of her mother’s terminal diagnosis. It was a time of reflection and of looking back at the shoulders upon which she stands. Thus, the work of artist Louise Bourgeois is paid homage to in Heavy Rag.