- Michael Boonstra
Art succeeds best when it can show you something you've seen before, but in a whole new way that allows you to rethink your own connection to the subject. Michael Boonstra's show,
"n o w h e r e," now up through December at the At Liberty artists' collective, does just that. Boonstra steps outside what one may think of as "landscape" art and shows us new and interesting ways to think about our connection and disconnection to the land.
Upon first viewing Boonstra's work, there's a sense of the familiar. While you can see the landscape with which he is working, it's not what you might typically expect from landscape drawings. There's no sense of the almighty, or the exquisiteness of nature that people are so familiar with. Instead, Boonstra brings something else: an examination of nature from a perspective we don't often step into. Close up, the mixed-media pieces feel like looking at particles under a microscope. At the same time, the artist has been able to capture the soul of the land itself.
The show's title even plays on the idea of place, possibly reading as "nowhere" or "now here." Suddenly, you feel a commentary of how we treat or mistreat our land, how over time land can change, due to us or in spite of our presence.
Boonstra works with a variety of mediums, including photography, drawing and painting. "Burn" is a series of pieces he started creating after the Clark Fire in 2005. He's revisited the piece many times, some as drawings, some as ink on translucent Dura-Lar, some as drawings on a wall, then painted over. In 2017 he created works in the wake of the Milli Fire and the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge.
If Boonstra's work does anything, it gives the viewer a moment to see the world in which we live with new eyes—one that will leave you with more questions than answers—a good thing sometimes.
"N o w h e r e" by Michael Boonstra
Now through Sat., Dec. 29
Artist Talk – Fri., Nov. 30. 2pm-6pm