I believe everyone has a story to tell. These stories are comprised of families, conflicts, acquaintances, friendships, loves, loss. The human experience often seems fragmented, marked by unexpected interactions, situations, and emotions that sometimes feel out of place, useless, and random at best. And yet, there is often a strange and captivating beauty that grows from these fragmented places. We find ourselves drawn into the stories of others because we identify with the disjointed spaces revealed through honesty and vulnerability. What once felt pointless, begins to hold meaning and beauty. As we listen to each other’s stories, we discover connections, hope, and a reminder that we don’t traverse this life alone. It is a representation of these beautiful discoveries that I attempt to paint.
My current work incorporates structures that are both intriguing and structurally impossible. Set in their own landscapes, they speak to the experiences of community both in urban and rural settings; more specifically to the combination of the two, and the dialogues that that combination entertains. In the Pacific Northwest, we live in a beautiful location, surrounded by the wonder of nature and the ever-changing growth of urban development. We live in community. We cannot escape how we affect one another. Our consideration—or lack of consideration—for our fellow human beings and our world makes a difference. While we may not agree with the beliefs of our neighbors, we can affirm the story of every person, recognizing that our value and worth lies not in our beliefs, but our personhood. Just as no human being or geographic location is perfect, so the shapes that I create in my paintings are not measured or “correct”, rather they serve an invitation to stop and consider. My hope is that these works will challenge the viewer to emotionally interact with and speculate about these shapes and their environments; that they would hold the attention and consideration of the viewer, offering a space to consider the responses they might evoke.
Bontrager has her BA in fine arts from Taylor University, Indiana and studied painting/drawing at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy and at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Her MA in Art Therapy from Hofstra University has contributed to the integration of emotion and intimacy in her creative process.
Consider the Why, 2019, India ink, graphite and acrylic on wood, 24x24 inches, $1,000
Building a Framework, 2019, India ink, graphite and acrylic on wood, 24x24 inches, $1,000
Everlasting Yes, 2019, India ink, graphite and acrylic on wood, 24x24 inches, $1,000
Living with Questions, 2019, India ink, graphite and acrylic on wood, 24x24 inches, $1,000
Longing for Resolve, 2019, India ink, graphite and acrylic on wood, 42x42 inches, $2,800