Shapero Modern, 32 St George St, London, W1S 2EA
29 March — 11 April 2017
Private View: Tuesday 28 March, 6.30 — 8.30pm
Shapero Modern is delighted to present a solo exhibition of new works by the Scottish artist and musician Lilias Buchanan. The show is directly inspired by American writer Richard Brautigan’s 1976 cult classic, Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel, and is comprised of nine small-scale paintings exquisitely rendered in pencil, watercolour and collage.
The assembled works channel the book’s two parallel narrative threads
The first focuses on a heartbroken American writer who has recently been left by his Japanese lover. His obsessive thoughts about her prevent him from concentrating on a story he is writing, in which a sombrero falls from the sky in a sleepy town in the American southwest. Eventually, and despairingly, the author throws what he has written into the wastepaper basket, but the discarded story continues to write itself, so beginning the second narrative, which recounts a bizarre tale in which the sombrero becomes an object of fascination, attracting enormous crowds and fierce debate before ultimately provoking a civil war.
An interest in Brautigan’s novel has bordered on the obsessional
Buchanan’s intention with the paintings riffs on the duality of the book that inspired them, in that each work reflects both the subtlety of Brautigan’s writing and the merged use of graphite and watercolour at the heart of her practice, which sees her juxtapose the saturated, stark monochrome of the writer sitting alone in his apartment with the psychedelic palette of the sombrero in the wastepaper basket.
The artist admits the creation of this body of work and her interest in Brautigan’s novel has bordered on the obsessional, leading her to approach strangers in the street who bore a resemblance to Brautigan’s characters, and asking them to pose for her. She even bought up all the sombrero postcards she could find on eBay to fuel her passion.
A celebration of Brautigan and campaign to introduce his writing to new audiences
For Buchanan the exhibition is both a celebration of Brautigan – Jarvis Cocker has described him as the Hemmingway of the 1960’s – and a campaign to introduce his writing to new audiences.
To this end, the exhibition will include a first edition of Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel and other historical artefacts courtesy of Dr. John F. Barber, founder, curator and archivist of the Richard Brautigan Archives.
UK book launch of Brautigan photographs by Erik Weber
The exhibition will also house the launch of ‘Seeing Richard’ for the first time in the UK, a book of previously unpublished and rare images of Richard Brautigan taken by the photographer Erik Weber and published by Tangerine Press. There will be a limited number of signed limited edition, handbound, hardcover books on sale, including a foreword by Jarvis Cocker and introduction by William Hjortsberg (author of Falling Angel and Jubilee Hitchhiker).
About Richard Brautigan (1935-1984):
Richard Brautigan was an American novelist, poet and short story writer most known for his 1967 novel Trout Fishing in America (1967), which became an international bestseller and sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. He struggled with alcoholism and depression throughout his adult life, and committed suicide eight years after Sombrero Fallout was published.
About Lilias Buchanan (b.1989):
Lilias Buchanan, was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1989. After leaving Central Saint Martin’s with a 1st class BA (Hons) in Graphic Design she completed a Diploma at The Prince’s Drawing School, winning the Patron’s Prize. Her portrait, Richard Strange and his Robin Hood Arrow (2014), which was shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2014, is in the permanent art collection of The House of St Barnabas, London. At the invitation of galleries and designers she has been invited to be artist-in-residence giving ‘live drawing’ performances parallel to exhibitions and as part of special events including the Royal Academy, London. Group exhibitions include The Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours Annual Exhibition and The Mall Galleries, London (2017). Lilias Buchanan is also the singer, songwriter and guitarist with three-piece garage punk band, The Graphites. She lives and works in London.