Amber Boardman’s works on canvas and paper contain the frightening and hilarious beauty secrets no women’s magazine will share—the un-sellable secrets: mistakes. Her painting style, inspired in part by the figurative works of Philip Guston, allows her subject matter to be humorous rather than tragic.
The characters that people Boardman’s colorful canvases are caught in moments certainly shared by most, but usually not publicly. While a religious ritual aims at creating a community of worldly practice around the divine, here we find our secret rituals, those that create invisible, fragmented community, hours of meticulously applying spray-tan or bleaching hair. The invisible becomes apparent as the roots grow out: Regrowth. Nor is the divine absent from the visual puns that create strong humor in Boardman’s work.
Boardman describes the characters in her work as “‘artists’, who use makeup, spray tan, and plastic surgery as their art mediums”. The serious sentiment that is imbued in these characters allows dark humor to transcend both darkness and humor. These paintings celebrate the
stumbling ways we attempt to commune with our nature—by dying, tanning, and chemically curling it. Henri Bergson defines the comic as “something mechanical encrusted on the living”. Boardman’s paintings give us the crust, in all its hilarity and grotesqueness.
Amber Boardman (b. 1981 Portland, Maine) lives and works in Sydney, Australia, where she is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales. She completed her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY in 2005. Recent solo exhibitions include Chalk Horse, Sydney, Australia, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane, Australia and Ivy Brown Gallery with Art Pow Wow, New York, NY. Institutional collections include Artbank Australia, City of Sydney, and The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. She has been featured in Juxtapoz as well asmany other publications.