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Motor skills

The woes of the American auto industry during the Great Recession fuel a Stillwater artist’s sculpture exhibition opening in Norman.

Molly Evans June 12th, 2013

6-10 p.m. Friday
through July 13
Mainsite Contemporary Art
122 E. Main, Norman

Have You Tried Walking
A Stillwater-based sculptor will detail the ever-changing relationship among humans, industry and environment through 10 pieces in an exhibition opening Friday at Mainsite Contemporary Art in downtown Norman.

Matthew Boonstra, an artist and visiting sculpture professor at Oklahoma State University, put together Interruptions by selecting sculpture, installation and projection pieces that he began creating in the wake of Detroit’s 2009 economic crisis.

He hopes the national turmoil that has inspired his work for the past four years will offer gallery visitors a moment to reflect on past, present and future socioeconomic circumstances.

Boonstra began his research into the Motor City’s economic struggles after being fueled by his family’s historical and financial ties to the city. His investigative approach — conducting interviews at automotive factories and unemployment banks — is something he encourages in his sculpture students in addition to honing technique.

“I think what makes a good sculpture is a certain amount of conceptual depth,” Boonstra said.

His creative explorations led him to create a variety of pieces that includes a sculpture of a tire tread. It’s a recurring object in his work, interrupting a continuous projection of a forest landscape.

“I really enjoy Oklahoma for its rural landscape,” Boonstra said, “but I think more and more of our landscape is being interrupted.”

Most recently, he abstracted the graph of the Dow Jones Industrial Average into three-dimensional form to fit within the Mainsite gallery space using string, he said.

“At the center of the gallery the string comes to a focal point with a grouping of cast concrete houses to represent the current housing crisis,” Boonstra said.

He said he hopes his artwork continues to change with new technologies and conceptual investigations.

Boonstra approached Mainsite with the idea for his exhibition after winning an Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition fellowship in 2012.

Wait, there’s more!
Interruptions will open during Norman Arts Council’s 2nd Friday Circuit of Art, a monthly citywide celebration of local artists, arts organizations and other businesses.

Running to Conclusions
Two other exhibitions also will be featured at Mainsite during Interruptions’ run through July 13; the gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Work by Michael Joy Wilson, recipient of the Norman Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award, will be on display in the Library Gallery toward the back of the gallery.

Wilson was chosen as one of six Norman Featured artists this year by curator Amber Sharples, according to Erinn Gavaghan, Norman Arts Council executive director.

Wilson’s initial proposal for her exhibition married the idea of palindromes and how they relate to her working style, as she is an artist with dyslexia, said Gavaghan.

Finally, in Mainsite’s Water Closet Gallery is Discernible Discourse, a “microexhibit” of five artists’ work curated by Krystle Brewer, an OSU graduate student. The artists all incorporate language in their pieces using advertising copy, poetry, song lyrics, sheet music, old books, academic papers and biblical passages, Gavaghan said.

As with all openings at the gallery, she said, Friday’s event includes free wine and cheese.

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