Boake’s figures leap into space

They are jumping for joy. They are jumping off things. They are just jumping. Red Deer-raised artist Erin Boake’s latest exhibit of paintings, on this month at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer, is called The Jumpers.

Erin Boake is pictured next to her painting in her collection called The Jumpers

Erin Boake is pictured next to her painting in her collection called The Jumpers

They are jumping for joy. They are jumping off things. They are just jumping.

Red Deer-raised artist Erin Boake’s latest exhibit of paintings, on this month at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer, is called The Jumpers. In it, isolated figures are depicted leaping through undefined space, sort of like the photographs of astronauts floating outside space capsules.

Boake, who studied ballet for many years at the Red Deer College Conservatory of Dance, said she’s always been attracted to the shapes of people in motion.

To obtain models, she asked a few friends to jump off railings and swings and on trampolines while she took photographs of them. A few of her action figures were also painted from pre-existing photos that Boake found in clipping files.

Despite some of her subjects’ joyful facial expressions, Boake’s paintings leave a striking, solitary impression. “Anonymous space has always been kind of a theme for me,” admitted Boake, adding, “I’m not sure, maybe it’s growing up in the Prairies, but I’m used to having lots of space around me.”

Some her backgrounds are solid, bold colours. Some resemble surrealistic clouds, made more René Magritte-like by Boake’s depiction of kinetic figures peering out from inside cut-away shapes. “Those are experimental, with people falling through other people’s negative spaces,” she said.

One oil painting, Joyful Explosion, features a background sunburst of oranges, reds and yellows, reinforcing the exuberant expression on the face of the female figure.

Another painting, on primed birch board, shows the same, bent-over person in large and small incarnations, like patterned wallpaper with depth.

Green Drop shows a boy in a 1940s-style striped sweater vest in motion. Yellow Drop shows the same boy, but with blurred lines suggesting a fall rather than a jump.

Boake wants the focus to be on the figure. More specifically, she wants viewers to concentrate on the figures’ forms.

The mystery of who these individuals are and what they are doing appeals to the artist. “Within the anonymous space, people may wonder who are these people? Where are they falling to? What are the circumstances” behind their motions?

The 29-year-old completed the Red Deer College visual arts program, then went to finish the Alberta College of Art and Design program in 2003.

Since then, she’s lived across Canada, including Montreal, Nova Scotia and Nunavut, where Boake has been a contracted drawing instructor at the Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaliut.

When she isn’t somewhere else, Boake, who has exhibited her work at the Agora Gallery in New York City, feels right at home in Central Alberta. “I’m not a big city girl anymore. I don’t like the traffic,” admitted the artist, who lives in Ponoka and feels no shortage of local artistic opportunities.

“I find I’ve had to make my own opportunities,” added Boake, who’s taught art through the City of Red Deer and at the Summerscapes program for teenagers at Red Deer College.

She’s also painted local murals, including a work-in-progress at Sunworks.

The Jumpers continues to July 29 at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Sunworks at 4924 Ross St. For more information, visit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

A cruise ship sits docked waiting for passengers to be evacuated in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 9, 2021 due to the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — People who ignored an initial warning to evacuate… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Most Read