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GORDON BOARDMAN, MARSTON CLASS, 1978

BY TERRY CARELLA

Gordon is a very private, modest and gentle man, with abounding gifts. He has a spirituality of kindness that radiates when he speaks, and is vividly illustrated in his art, his music, and with others. His extraordinary creativity and talent speaks from his soul, and is expressed from his heart. In looking back at the 1995 Benchmark story, Gordon was retired from his career as an attorney and classical pianist, and following his passion to be a full-time Abstract Expressionist painter. The story talked about his immense and “inexhaustible creative drive” whose “abstract acrylics of sweeping color and form” were “catching the eye of more than a few critics and galleries.” His work had already been featured in more than 12 group exhibitions, from Detroit to New York, winning superlatives from critics across the nation. Gordon’s influence and hero was Matisse. “No artist soars higher for me than Henri Matisse,” proclaimed Gordon in the 1995 story. “He evolved beyond the Impressionistic work of his peers and became far more suggestive in his art than depictionoriented. This pioneering approach fascinated me.” Even today, Gordon is influenced by Matisse’s work. “It is his superb use of color that I attempt to emulate in my own paintings.”

OCTOGENARIAN’S JOURNEY OF

Love and Faith

In Trinity Term 1995, Gordon Charles Boardman was the featured graduate on the cover of WMU-Cooley Law School’s Benchmark alumni magazine. Twenty years later, and at the age of 85, Benchmark features Gordon again to share his incredible journey of love and faith, and to honor a significant bequest he has made to WMU-Cooley Law School. But why a law degree when it appeared that his talent and educational background were in the creative arts? “Because I had to eat,” smiled Gordon. “I had to make a living, and you can’t eat canvas. I had to work, and I started looking at other careers of interest.” In 1972, Gordon came to Lansing, Michigan, to pursue a job opening in government relations to supplement his living while he intermittently worked on his art. He had heard that Judge Thomas E. Brennan started a law school in downtown Lansing and got to thinking about going himself after a couple colleagues mentioned that they were planning to enroll in Cooley’s evening program. Gordon wondered if law school was for him. “It might be a good fit for me since I worked with the legislature,” he thought. “I was in government relations. A law degree would allow me to be legislative counsel. I did a lot of testifying at committee hearings.” (continued)

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Benchmark | Winter 2016  

This issue of Benchmark prominently features our dear friend, alumnus and nationally renowned artist Gordon Boardman, who has made a monumen...

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