Adam de Boer: Traveller’s Palm

Opening reception Friday November 2, 7-10 PM

On view November 3 - December 20

Wednesday - Saturday 12-6 PM

5513 Pico Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90019

Hunter Shaw Fine Art is pleased to announce Adam de Boer: Traveller’s Palm, the artist’s second solo presentation with HSFA, and the inaugural exhibition in the gallery's new permanent space in Los Angeles. Traveller’s Palm is the culmination of an eight-year-long exploration of indigenous Javanese crafts which de Boer has studied with increasing intensity, most recently on a 2017 Fulbright fellowship to Indonesia. Throughout Traveller’s Palm, techniques such as batik, woven pandan leaf, carved teak and rawhide are integrated with Western modes of landscape and figural oil painting to mount a rigorous investigation of authenticity within the hybrid forms of a post-colonial world, and his own identity as an American-born artist of mixed Dutch-Indonesian heritage.

For most of his life, de Boer’s personal connection to his Eurasian ancestry was obfuscated by a decidedly American upbringing in Southern California. Although only one generation from possibly being born in central Java, de Boer’s heritage was only accessible through grainy snapshots in a family album. This changed on a fortuitous surf vacation to Bali in 2010. Deeply impressed by the culture, atmosphere and people he encountered, the artist commenced on what has become the central focus of his career: untangling the threads of history to reveal the complex tapestry of post-colonial identity. Fusing Indonesian crafts with European painting, de Boer treats both traditions with equal reverence and critique, resulting in images and objects that are at once jarring and harmonious.

Steeped in historical and art-historical reference, the works in Traveller’s Palm are deeply considered, from the choice of materials to the visual motifs employed. In many images, the land and people are depicted as if enmeshed within a seemingly endless sea of so-called “Portuguese Tiles.” These pressed cement tiles are actually English in origin, and were introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch in an effort to bring hygienic surfaces to the colonies. Featuring imagery and designs from around the globe, they are in fact a sanitized visual index of the European colonial project. De Boer deftly interweaves these icons with myriad other cultural signifiers to produce visual puzzles dense with historical technique and personal/political meaning.

Adam de Boer holds a BA in Painting from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2006) and a MA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art, London (2012). Recent exhibitions include Elevator Mondays, Los Angeles (2018); World Trade Centre, Jakarta (2018); Art|Jog, Yogyakarta (2018/2015); Redbase Foundation, Yogyakarta (2017); Hunter Shaw Fine Art, Los Angeles (2016); Riflemaker, London (2016/2013/2011); Indonesian Contemporary Art Network, Yogyakarta (2014); University California, Santa Barbara (2014); Escuela Taller, Bogotá (2013); Flashpoint Gallery, Washington, DC (2010).



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“Where is everybody?



Jones, E. M. (1985). ""Where is everybody?" An account of Fermi's question"" . Los Alamos National Laboratory. OSTI 785733. http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/documents/fullText/ACC0055.pdf




"No alien civilizations have substantially colonized our solar system or systems nearby. Thus among the billion trillion stars in our past universe, none has reached the level of technology and growth that we may soon reach. This one data point implies that a Great Filter stands between ordinary dead matter and advanced exploding lasting life. And the big question is: How far along this filter are we?"



Hanson, Robin (1998). "The Great Filter — Are We Almost Past It?". http://mason.gmu.edu/~rhanson/greatfilter.html





In 1996 economics professor and researcher Robin Hanson authored a paper that asked why we have yet to encounter intelligent extraterrestrial life. Building off a decades old question first proposed by physicist Enrico Fermi at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1950, Hanson argued that given the relative ease with which intelligent life seems to have  formed on Earth in terms of biology, and given the abundance (billions) of Earth-like planets in the universe, statistically speaking, there should be a (very) high probability of intelligent life developing somewhere among the nearly infinite expanse of space and time - So why haven't we found them yet? Hanson’s paper proposed that somewhere along the biological or technological development of civilizations, there must be a mechanism that interferes with their development and prevents them from achieving the capacity for interstellar travel, colonization and/or communication, Hanson called this mechanism The Great Filter.



ELEVATOR MONDAYS is proud to announce EX NIHILO the first chapter in THE GREAT FILTER TRILOGY an exhibition of three interconnected shows that will unfold over the course of 20 weeks. Each chapter of the trilogy will deal with a different set of cultural and political concerns presented against the backdrop of evolving American identity. EX NIHILO is latin for “out of nothing,” it is often used to evoke divine creation or genesis.



EX NIHILO features six emerging Los Angeles-based artists working in painting, social practice, sculpture and drawing. The exhibition was curated around the idea of birth and beginning - How do we start the stories we tell? Where does our history begin?



Cheryl Bentley is a interdisciplinary artist whose graphite drawings interrogate the physiological origins of our collective and personal traumas. Adam de Boer  paints his Dutch-Indonesian heritage through vibrate portraits that blend western oil painting with traditional Indonesian batik processes. Nina Hartmann is a printmaker and designer, her layered paintings incorporate archival images she collects and silk-screens onto hand-dyed supports. Alyssa Rogers is a painter whose eclectic style dives deep into her own subconscious often combining images from her dreams and memories. Molly Surazhsky combines her Russian heritage with contemporary influences to create social interventions that challenge the corporatization of our lives. Sarah Ann Weber is a painter whose large scale panels often combine painting and drawing to create floral all-over compositions inspired by impressionism and the California landscape.



ELEVATOR MONDAYS is an artist-run curatorial project inside a converted freight elevator founded by Don Edler. The project focuses on bringing together working artists in a social exhibition space to foster dialogue and community through exhibitions and special programing. ELEVATOR MONDAYS is open Mondays from 7PM-10PM and by appointment.




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Opening February 6th 2018 :

PT JAKARTA LAND AND ISA ART ADVISORY invite you to join us at the opening of


An exhibition by Adam de Boer and Jumaldi Alfi

Opening night : 6:00 - 8:00 PM , February 6th 2018

The exhibition presents the work of two artists, Adam de Boer and Jumaldi Alfi. Born a decade and ocean apart, the experiences of each are distinctively different yet strikingly similar. Born and raised in Southern California, De Boer identifies as Dutch-Indonesian-American. Alfi, born in West Sumatra, speaks proudly of his time spent in Java and his special relationship to his adopted home, Yogyakarta. An examination of their paintings reveals the layered nature of identity, also raising the question of how one becomes, or is made part, of a contemporary (art) community or historical (art) tradition.

Lobby Area

World Trade Centre 2 Building

WTC Complex

Jl. Jenderal Sudirman Kav 29-31

Jakarta 12920


RSVP : vip.enquiries@isaartadvisory.com / (021) 7233905 or 085811568653


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Adam de Boer : Jungle Flame

Opening reception Friday, September 22, 4 pm.

On view September 22 - October 21, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, or by appointment.

Redbase Foundation, Yogyakarta is pleased to present Jungle Flame, resident artist Adam de Boer’s first solo exhibition in Indonesia. As a current Fulbright scholar, based in Yogyakarta, this exhibition is the result of de Boer’s ongoing and intense engagement with Indonesian aesthetic and craft traditions. The seven new multimedia works that constitute Jungle Flame are a reflection of the artist’s multi-layered artistic process, steeped in his critical investigation of identity and the appropriation, or as he states, “misappropriation of cultural forms.” De Boer’s enquiry began in 2010 with his first trip to Indonesia; a trip that awakened his desire to understand his own hybrid identity as a Dutch-Indonesian-American born and raised in Southern California, thousands of miles from his family’s roots in the Central Java town of Purwokerto.

Fundamental to de Boer’s practice is his attention to materials that have, for centuries, dominated the practice of Javanese craft and culture, including batik, carved wood, and leatherwork. For Jungle Flame, de Boer builds on his interest in the possibilities afforded by the unlikely synthesis of seemingly contradictory elements, that when combined, become a congruous image, the result of his thoughtful layering of material, process, and conceptual themes.

De Boer’s work challenges its viewers to look twice as they move through the series, from a mirrored image of a young Javanese Muslim woman, representative of the paradoxes that exist in contemporary Indonesian society, to images of Java’s landscape, reminiscent of the Mooi Indie or “Beautiful Indies” aesthetic, whose rejection by Indonesian nationalists marked the start of a uniquely Indonesian art history distinct from the influence of their Dutch oppressors. The young women are not simply placed on the canvas, but are instead embedded in a batik design derived from the patterns of local “tegel” tile brought to Indonesia by European colonists in the 19th century. While the Mooi Indie landscapes ask what the effect is of an artist reengaging with an aesthetic both lauded and intensely hated by each side of his familial heritage, respectively.   

In the context of Yogyakarta, now recognized for its position on the global map of contemporary art, de Boer’s work is especially valuable for its assertion that tradition – be it from the perspective of aesthetics or material – remains relevant to the understanding of the continued development of visual cultures, both for individuals and societies, be they homogeneous or hybrids ever in flux.

In 2016, de Boer was awarded a Fulbright research fellowship to Indonesia that has allowed him to deepen his engagement with the region’s indigenous crafts. He has also received grants from Arts for India, the Cultural Development Corporation, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Santa Barbara Arts Fund.

Adam de Boer received his MFA from the Chelsea College of Art, London, and his BA in painting from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Recent exhibitions include: Hunter Shaw Fine Art, Los Angeles (2016); Riflemaker, London (2016/2013/2011); Art|Jog|8, Yogyakarta (2015); Indonesian Contemporary Art Network, Yogyakarta (2014); Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (2014); University of California, Santa Barbara (2014); Escuela Taller, Bogotá (2013); ; Flashpoint, Washington, DC (2010).

Redbase Foundation Website

06/06/2015 - "Infinity in Flux", ART|JOG|8, Yogyakarta by Adam de Boer


Now in its eighth year running, ART|JOG has firmly established itself as one of the annual highlights of Southeast Asia’s contemporary art scene. Inspired by the Fluxus movement from the 1960’s, Infinity in Flux presents both Indonesian as well as international artists, emerging and established. This year’s featured artist includes a special presentation by Yoko Ono.   

6 - 28 June, 2015
Taman Budaya Yogyakarta
Soboman no. 234 RT 06 DK.X 
Ngestiharjo Kasihan,
Bantul, Yogyakarta 55182


by Adam de Boer for Art Jog 2015

Curator Bambang Toko Witjaksono selected my large batik installation, "Distintos Niveles de Bienestar", 2013, for exhibition at Art | Jog this summer. Though initially made for exhibition in Bogota, Colombia with a very specific audience and physical context in mind, the looseness of the batik mark-making and exaggerated color palette allow for wide interpretation. Staring out of windows and feeling the sensation of inside and outside, belonging or alienation, acting as voyeur or as the object of another’s gaze, are certainly universal situations and themes. I'm especially interested to see how Indonesian viewers will react to the use of batik in this particular fine art context: on a large scale and completely void of traditional textile motifs. 


Al Lado de la Libélula, 2013, wax-resist acrylic ink and crayon on linen, 79 x 118 inches

Al Lado de la Séptima, 2013, wax-resist acrylic ink and crayon on linen, 79 x 118 inches


Al Lado de la Séptima, installation