The study of imperfection by Amber Boardman

My paintings, mostly of women, are inspired by people I’ve observed either walking around the city or online through social media. I see many woman as everyday artists who use paint, hair dye, spray tanning, etc. as their art mediums. My observations tend to center on the way people want to be seen and the effort they expend in “looking good”. I distill these observations into satirical yet compassionate pieces about people’s insecurities and longing for connection. ~Amber Boardman

My work employs titles that function similarly to captions in single panel cartoons. They also reference meme culture. You will get a very good idea of the way I translate observations into painting from my commentary on the select pieces below:

Inline image 1

Makeup Bus Commute

I observed a woman on my bus commute to work standing, arm wrapped around a pole and applying her entire morning regime including deodorant, seemingly oblivious to any observers. I was fascinated and imagined what might happen should the bus shake too much. I asked myself how the movement of the bus might distort her make up and how could that movement be shown in a still image.

Mouth Organ

Inline image 2

Late last year I was curious to see what would happen if I begin with a simple prompt. In this case, I thought of making 10 paintings related to musical instruments. I was interested in representing how the body relates to each instrument. I loved the idea that “mouth organ” is another word for harmonica because of it’s connection to the body. I also like that Instruments are inert without the activation of the body.

Inline image 3

Blond on Lawnchair

This androgynous character is partly in repose and partly trying very hard to look good despite having a stumpy leg and 8 fingers.

Inline image 4

Frosted Tips: How Long Until I can Leave This Party

This is another comment on fashion and my observation of behavior. People go to parties to have fun and socialize but are often quite uncomfortable, insecure and wanting to leave as soon as they arrive. In this painting, the center character is looking at us (the observer) as if to say, can you believe this party? Let’s go.

Inline image 5

Fascinator Discomfort

Similar to the two paintings above, a character has gone to great lengths to look good and fit in but at the same time feels the ridiculousness of it all. This comes from a series where clothing, in this case a fascinator, breaks down into abstraction.

Inline image 6

Adventures in Mascara

This character is playing with makeup, novel to her because she doesn’t usually wear any. She’s trying on another persona.

Inline image 7

80s Confidence

I love this painting and want to do a whole series based on it. We gloss over the elderly in our youth-obsessed culture. But this woman doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks. She’s has the experience and wisdom to be completely confident in herself. This is in contrast to the younger women I paint who are trying too hard. This work is also from a series where sweaters break down into abstract paintings.