No Place Like Home

artist remixes living spaces from around the world

Mike Seitz

SLICES OF LIFE. Local artist Michael Borowski’s new exhibition, “Home Reports,” opened at the Volume One Gallery on Jan. 8. The show was inspired by a data report published by Ikea.
SLICES OF LIFE. Local artist Michael Borowski’s new exhibition, “Home Reports,” opened at the Volume One Gallery on Jan. 8. The show was inspired by a data report published by Ikea.

For Michael Borowski, the concept of “home” has always been an important part of his work and something that he’s always examining. This remains the case for “Home Reports,” his most recent exhibit. “Home Reports” – one of his first exhibitions in Eau Claire – opened at the Volume One Gallery on Jan. 8; it’s a collection of images that Borowski created using a data report published by Ikea last year. This was a unique series for him, since it didn’t involve taking any photos himself.

“I didn’t know what I was going to get when I started, and in that way it was different from how I typically work. It was a little bit more of a search and a lot more play involved.” – Michael Borowski took images from an Ikea report and fashioned them into his own works for his new show, “Home Report”

The Ikea report, titled “Life at Home,” was gathered from stores in eight major cities around the world and included information about common rituals and routines of those living there, particularly people’s morning routines. Photo portraits ran alongside the information in the report, so Borowski gathered those images and pasted them together with other elements to create “Home Reports.”

“I took the photographs that were there and used Photoshop to start to abstract them using a lot of solid blocks of color and patterns,” Borowski told me. The result makes parts of the image clear while other parts are geometric and abstract.

Architecture and interior space are very important to these pieces. “One of the things I like about this work is how it plays with a sense of perception,” he said. “What’s in the foreground and what’s in the background get mixed up.” How his work creates a sense of space is something that really excites Borowski and is something to look for when checking out his work.

He explained how blocks of color come through the images and are common throughout the series. Certain gestures and actions can also be seen across the series, such as brushing your teeth or getting something from the fridge. The photos are a little grainy due to the low quality of the original images, which was something new for Borowski.

Borowski has always used his own photos and materials in his past work, so his work is often very concept driven. Working with the Ikea reports offered a different challenge and artistic process. When he found the reports, it got him thinking about what it means for a business to do market research and the relationship between data and advertising.

“I didn’t know what I was going to get when I started, and in that way it was different from how I typically work,” he explained. “It was a little bit more of a search and a lot more play involved.”

The show is a result of a fascination with these concepts and how home spaces are represented in advertising. When Borowski moved to Eau Claire, it took him awhile to find inspiration for a project. When he found the Ikea report over the summer, his process began. “That’s usually where a good art series for me comes from. It’s something in the world that makes me fascinated and making artwork is a way for me to think about it more.”

Since coming Eau Claire to work as a photography lecturer at UW-Eau Claire, Borowski hasn’t had many opportunities to showcase his work to the community, making this an exciting opportunity. “When you come to a new place, it takes a little bit of time to get to know the community and make connections to what’s going on,” Borowski said.

While Borowski’s work has been shown at the university, this will be his first time getting his work out into the community and reaching a broader audience. The exhibition opened Jan. 8 and will be on display in the Volume One Gallery until Feb. 27. On Feb. 26, there will be a closing reception for Home Reports from 6:30-8:30pm.

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