Construction and building are reoccurring metaphors in Michael Borowski’s creative work. He uses a combination of photography, installation, and performance to investigate the ways that societal values are expressed in urban environments. His projects explore themes of migration, intimacy, queer space, and the blurring of public and private life. His work has been exhibited in the Louisville Photo Biennial (Louisville, KY), Flux Factory (New York, NY), Prairie Center for the Arts (Peoria, IL), and Espace Projet (Montreal, QC.) His installations have been included in the public art and performance festivals Art in Odd Places and FIGMENT (New York, NY.) Borowski holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, and a BFA from the University of New Mexico. He currently lives and works in Blacksburg, VA and is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Virginia Tech.
My creative work explores the intersection of spatial and psychological conditions, particularly in the places I call home. After moving to a rural town in 2014, I thought a lot about phrases like “small town values.” I wanted to examine both the visual styles and aesthetics of the region, and my own assumptions and fears about rural America. Utopia is a theme I often return to in my work. Being located in the rural Midwest gave me insight into a different kind of utopia; one based on certain ideals of small town living, and a nostalgia for the past. The resulting body of work, called “Village”, documents painted backdrops used for a yearly Christmas Village in Chippewa Falls, WI. These plywood stands represent a mixture of generic Victorian scenes and local historic sites. I am drawn to their simplified design and skewed, isometric perspective, but I also see them as nuanced symbols of rural identity. The nostalgia and warmth expressed in these flattened architectural spaces suggests a particular ideal of small towns. My photographs show these representations in sharp detail, while also pointing out the flatness and artifice of these sets.
To view more of Michael’s work please visit his website.