Deborah Buck’s painting informs all of her endeavors, including forays into design and entrepreneurship through her company, Buck House (www.buckhouse.com). Originally from Baltimore, Buck credits her early artistic and intellectual development to her exposure to the legendary Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still, who mentored her as a young artist after reviewing her work. “He talked and I listened,” Buck recalls. “He told me, ‘Nobody can teach you to paint; you already know how to do that. But if you want to be taken seriously, you should learn everything you can about the world around you: religion, politics, design, science.’” As Still opined on the painters and critics of the day, his council made a true impact on Deborah. “Even at so young an age, I knew I was in the presence of something huge,” she remembers. After winning the Skowhegan Medal for Painting from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, Still recommended Deborah to attend the program on the full scholarship given in his name.
After graduating with honors from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Buck accepted a position with a subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions, where she designed animated displays for installation throughout the United States, and abroad; she credits daily drawing and engineering exercises with helping her painting practice. Buck began exhibiting her work professionally during the 1980s. Most recently, Buck presented her work in solo exhibitions at Julie Saul Gallery, NY, New York and the Garrison Art Center in Garrison, New York.
In fall 2001, Buck opened Buck House, an art and antiques gallery situated on Madison Avenue. Operating as a successful business, Buck House often hosted members of the art and design communities. “Having been inspired by turn-of-the-century Parisian intellectual salons, I sought to create a gathering place of my own.” Her work has been featured in countless magazines, books and television appearances. Deborah is known as an artist and a tastemaker, using her design acumen to transform homes, galleries and commercial as well as non-profit establishments into thoughtful and sometimes controversial environments. Buck House closed its bricks and mortar location after 11 years on Madison Avenue but it continues to exist as a virtual home for all of Deborah's design projects at www.buckhouse.com.
In 2006 Deborah joined the Board of Trustees at The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She relishes in her trusteeship, “being so fully involved in arts education from the ground up.” In 2007 Buck joined the faculty at New York's School of Visual Arts Design program, teaching a seminar for Master’s thesis students. “The energy students bring to the classroom feeds my head,” she says. “I tell my students: ‘only you can put you in a box.’” In the spring of 2015, Deborah joined the Fine Arts Committee of The Long House Reserve in East Hampton, NY.
Deborah’s most recent works on paper reveal her fluid use of pastel and acrylic paint. She continues to explore the interplay of surrealism and abstraction in her work, where her long-held interests in absurdity, romanticism, and the darker side of fairy tales lend a strong narrative sense to her practice.