There are no children in Sarah Buddendeck’s drawings of toys, no grassy lawns or messy rec rooms, no loud noises or bright colors, not even any shadows. Using graphite and a bit of white acrylic on paper, Buddendeck meticulously drafts classic objects of childhood—a little red wagon, a plastic riding horse, a rounded school bus—in complete isolation from everything that gives them life, and the life that they give in turn. Surprisingly, her pictures produce no nostalgia. That’s always the risk with such representations, especially done in black-and-white, and Buddendeck evades it with care. If not nostalgia, though, then what? Memory can happen without the happy haze of romanticism. That veil lifted, Buddendeck reveals a melancholic study of loss and emptiness, of time long passed. That’s one reason to have children: they bring old toys back to life, as the toys give them something to live on.
—Lori Waxman 11/28/15 2:53 PM