Alumna Reframes White Supremacist Writings in Her Artwork

Katharine Buckley, “Why the South Demands Corrected Textbooks,” 2022, letterpress, risograph, and digital printing, 8.5″ x 11″ folios (11″ x 17″ unfolded), held in a four-flap wrapper. Courtesy of the artist.

MFA candidate and art alumna Katharine Buckley is among three master’s students in the UA Book Arts program who are presenting their thesis work in “Mending,” at The University of Alabama Gallery in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in Tuscaloosa. The exhibition is open now through March 25, 2022.

In her master’s work, Buckley uses the South as a complex source for her art. The Birmingham, Alabama, native said, “I grew up privy to the profoundly rich culture and beautiful landscape of the deep South. At the same time, I was exposed to the fraught history and horrors of the region.” Building on archival sources, the art alumna’s work recontextualizes original source material and subject matter, such as the writings and publications of Mildred Lewis Rutherford, a prominent nineteenth- and early twentieth-century white supremacist educator. “I present [original archival material] in a way that prompts the viewer to reconsider the prevailing narrative or reexamine their beliefs or knowledge,” she explained. Buckley focuses on Southern history, culture and identity as her subjects, she says, as well as “domesticity and placemaking as aspects of culture and identity.”

Buckley is pursuing an MFA in book arts and an MLIS with a focus on archival studies. She earned her BA in studio art from UA in 2015, focusing on printmaking. For more information about the exhibition, contact the gallery at (205) 345-3038 or check the website.