Amelia Groom is a writer and art historian. From 2018-2020 she is a Postdoctoral Fellow at ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, as part of the interdisciplinary research project ERRANS environ/s. She completed a PhD in Art History & Theory at the University of Sydney in 2014, with a dissertation on ‘disorderly temporalities’ in contemporary art. Since 2014 she has taught theory and writing for the Critical Studies MA degree at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. She was also the Theory Tutor for the 2016-2018 Master of Voice MA program at the Sandberg. Her writing has appeared in various artist monographs, exhibition catalogues and academic volumes, as well as publications including e-flux journal, frieze magazine, Art-Agenda and Metropolis M.
Her recent texts have addressed topics including lichen, pareidolia, ventriloquism, blurs, silence, and rocks. She edited the Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art anthology on ‘TIME’, and her book on Beverly Buchanan’s environmental sculpture Marsh Ruins (1981) is forthcoming in 2020, as part of the Afterall One Work series.
Turning to Stone: Rocks and Ruination in Beverly Buchanan’s Environmental Sculptures
ICI Project 2018-20
Over three hot, mid-July days in 1981, the sculptor Beverly Buchanan (1940–2015) constructed her Marsh Ruins, three concrete and shell-based tabby mounds, in the liminal wetlands of the Marshes of Glynn on the southeast coast of Georgia. Within the ICI’s ERRANS environ/s core project, Amelia Groom is conducting a focused study of this environmental sculpture, which exists in an ongoing state of ruination. Drawing from the artist’s unpublished notes, letters and journals from the 1970s and ‘80s, this project considers Buchanan’s complex and historically under-appreciated work, through questions of ecological entanglements; the aesthetics of fragmentation; and the colonial legacies of fracture and dislocation.
The research involves archival work at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (where the Beverly Buchanan papers are now held), and Groom is also traveling to Georgia and Florida to visit a number of Buchanan’s site-specific works. The travel has been generously supported by a research grant from The Terra Foundation for American Art. Groom’s book Beverly Buchanan: Marsh Ruins will be published as part of the One Work series by Afterall Books and The MIT Press, in the autumn of 2020.