Park University Exhibit Raises Fuel Consumption Awareness

Photo // Chloe Robbins

Chloe' Robbins-Anderson

The Campanella Gallery at Park University in Parkville, Mo., is hosting an exhibit by Matthew Boonstra titled, “Have You Tried Walking?” The exhibit features both the titular sculpture and a sculpture named “Human, Human, Human.”

The namesake piece features a steel gasoline nozzle growing out of a plaster pair of human legs, meant to show the effects of mankind’s dependency on oil, according to Boonstra’s website. The other piece, a large car key that is transformed into a human torso and head, is also made of a mixture of steel and plaster. Attached to the key ring is a foot. This is an extension of the idea that mankind’s dependency on vehicles can be overcome.

Boonstra received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Eastern Michigan University and his Master of Fine Arts at Michigan State University. He now teaches art at Oklahoma State University. Most of his works use steel, plaster and tire rubber, with a focus on man’s impact on the environment.

The artist had works exhibited in 2011 at the Mallin and Charno Galleries for the River Market Regional Exhibition, hosted by the Kansas City Artist Coalition. The previous director of the gallery, Donna Bachmann, became interested when she saw the socially conscious works. Although Bachmann left and was replaced by Matthew LaRose, who is also the chair of Park’s department of art and design, the exhibit contract  stayed.

The exhibit opened Sept. 3 with a reception in the minimalist gallery, with students, faculty and community members in attendance.

“It was really low-key,” LaRose said. “I’m trying to establish something a little more professional, whether with students and staff or art students here. I persisted on having an opening to get people out of the woodworks.”

The exhibits range from socially charged to personal, according to LaRose. The last exhibit, “My Life Sentence” by Michelle Childers, was much more personal to the artist.

“The summer show was very revealing of a particular artist and her trials and tribulations,” LaRose said. “It was challenging to say the least. If this one is minimum, that one was maximum. [The gallery] was filled to the max.”

LaRose said he also welcomes submissions for the gallery’s upcoming season. Interested artists should send a website or images to his email at [email protected] The next exhibit will be a photo show of adjunct faculty member Bill Eickhorst, opening Oct. 21. The directors of the gallery have strived to attract artists from around the world who practice very different kinds of art.

“We see the gallery an extension of the classroom,” LaRose said. “We use it as a teaching tool to talk about the art.”

To learn more about the artist and see his other pieces, visit http://www.mattboonstra.com. The exhibit will be available through Oct. 11 and admission is free. Campanella Gallery is located in the McAfee Memorial Library within Park University, which is open to the public 8 a.m.-9:30p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-4:30p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-4p.m. Saturdays and 4-9:30 p.m. Sundays.