Jordan Buschur

Updated: May 13


This is the fun part of painting for me - finding the line between following a source image and veering off into the world of abstraction and editing.


Jordan Buschur comes from a long line of collectors, and her paintings reflect this proclivity towards amassing objects. An artist, educator, and curator, she received an M.F.A. from Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. Her work has been shown in numerous locations, including exhibitions with the Center for Book Arts (New York), Tiger Strikes Asteroid (New York), and the Toledo Museum of Art. She was a community teaching resident at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and the Sheldon Museum of Art and completed residencies at Chashama North, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. Awards include the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Kimmel Foundation Artist Award and the Charles Shaw Painting Award. Her artwork has been featured on Creative Boom, the Jealous Curator, and Young Space, among others. She has curated exhibitions at Cuchifritos Gallery and Spring/Break Art Show, both in New York, and the Neon Heater in Findlay, Ohio. Buschur was the Director of the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and currently works with The Arts Commission in Toledo, Ohio, where she co-foundedCo-Worker Gallery in the corner of her office.


My paintings implant ordinary objects with psychological meanings, implying a human presence through depictions of accumulated collections. These collections, ranging from books to junk drawers to piles of empty boxes, focus on the oscillation between private meaning and public presentation.

Closed (and often blank) books have the potential to contain anything- primers, secrets, romances, how-to guides, theories, handbooks for improvement. They remain closed: an impenetrable façade, or conversely, a blank slate open to any interpretation. When text is present, it is both invented and extracted from the original text on the books. These small groups of words function as short poems, offering hints at the content of the books and steering the painting towards additional meanings. Mirrors are present in some paintings, though the doubled images are never true duplicates. The text changes, perspectives and colors shift, and the divide between real and reflected widens. The paintings pivot between personal resonance and public consumption, reality and invention, fixed meaning and open interpretation.

Painting the array of collected objects in a drawer is an act of meditation on my relationship with the owner, as I dwell on the mundane details of their accumulated junk. Yet the paintings stop short of functioning as a portrait of an individual through their amassed objects. Instead, the collections point towards the material weight of modern life, the anxiety of consumption, and the anonymity of personal effects. Acting as a counterpoint, a companion set of paintings depicts piles of empty boxes. All drawers are eventually emptied; the collector is no longer collecting.

Cross Country - acrylic on panels - 2019

Tell us more about the conceptual relevance of collection, objects, and history within your paintings.

Collections and groups of objects are tied to so many meanings and emotions. They can signify class status (or aspirational status), they can hold worth only for the owner, they can symbolize generational standards of object stewardship (what is disposable? what can be fixed?), and so much more, based on the viewer’s own experience with the stuff we surround ourselves with. For me, I can trace my interest in collections back to my great-grandmother, who collected whatever struck her fancy, though it likely didn’t have much monetary worth. Some of my paintings feature her things, which are still in my family for sentimental reasons. But as someone who has only recently settled in a home after moving around the country for most of my adult life, I feel the physical weight of this stuff. There is an urge to sort and discard, and a simultaneous paralyzation towards getting rid of anything with good memories associated with it. It’s nostalgia, and it’s heavy.

E is for Effort - acrylic on panel - 2020

Your paintings often depict rectangular objects like books and empty boxes. Are these geometries thematically important? What is conveyed conceptually through the book or the box?

I can’t deny a formal preference for a balance between order and chaos (here’s the rectangle of the drawer balancing the mess of stuff inside). Books, boxes, drawers: all are containers for objects, ideas, secrets, forgotten information. The containers provide the order for the mystery or chaos inside.

Permanent Protest - acrylic on panel - 2018

Can you tell us more about the divide between the real and the reflected?

If a shelf of books on display in a living room is a façade of self-presentation, the secret box or hidden shelf of self-help books might be the necessary counterpoint. Mirrors in the paintings offer another version of this division, diptychs with mirrored images function in the same way- the two versions of the images appear uniform but are filled with discrepancies.

Salad Days - acrylic on panels - 2019

In what ways do you embrace or challenge the traditions of painting?

I love the physical act of painting. I’m happily following my notions of what makes an interesting painting, tracking others who are following their own painting paths, and sidelining the glut of things that are outside my aesthetic or conceptual interests. I apply the same tactic to art history and traditions of painting. There’s so much good out there that I don’t have time to challenge the bad.

Solution Search - acrylic on panel - 2018

Many pieces find equal footing in faithfully rendering objects while also embracing a novel voice. How do you navigate this balance of realism and stylization?

This is the fun part of painting for me- finding the line between following a source image and veering off into the world of abstraction and editing. It’s intuitive, and built on the experience of making all my previous paintings. It’s like growing my personal painting vocabulary, image by image.