Matthew Boonstra is an artist and educator based in Illinois. He has exhibited his work at the International Sculpture Center Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ; Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI; Goldman-Kuenz Sculpture Park at Cedarhurst Center of the Arts in Mt. Vernon, IL; Mainsite Contemporary in Norman, OK; Universidade do Estado Santa Catarina in Florianopolis, Brazil, among others. He has received numerous artistic awards and distinctions including the Visual Arts Fellowship from the Illinois Art Council Agency and Oklahoma Visual Art Coalition; Swope Award of Distinction from the Swope Art Museum; and publication in Sculpture Magazine. Boonstra holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Fine Arts from Michigan State University. Boonstra is currently an Associate Professor of Art - Sculpture at Eastern Illinois University.
My creative practice centers around the physical activity of playing around with materials. The manifestations of play are also developed in an autobiographical context concerning my role in contemporary life. Particularly, my work focuses on investigating feelings and thoughts as a community member, spouse, and father. The investment of making or playing has helped me take internalized thoughts and translate them into physical sculpture. Metal is a common material in my work as I was educated in fabrication and foundry. I continue to experiment with digital platforms and integrating them with traditional processes. At the heart of my creative practice is the desire to try or play with something new or different.