Catching up with artist Katherine Boxall
by Cathy Martin | photographs by Rose Flowr Creative
Artist Katherine Boxall returns to Charlotte this month for her second solo exhibition with Jerald Melberg Gallery. The show, which gallery owner Melberg titled Intelligent Abstraction II, features 20 new paintings by the Canada-born artist. We checked in with Boxall to find out what she’s been doing since moving to Austin, Texas, last year and what to expect in the new exhibition.
Comments have been edited for length.
How has your life changed since we last spoke nearly two years ago?
After the closing of my first solo exhibition at Jerald Melberg Gallery in spring 2021, my fiancé (now husband) Austin and I moved to Austin, Texas, in order for him to pursue new work opportunities. In 2018, his work brought us to Charlotte from Austin, so even though it was a return “home” for him, it was difficult for me to say goodbye to the Queen City I’d fallen in love with over the years. It was especially emotional for me to say goodbye to my Wilkinson Boulevard studio, because it was my first studio since graduating with my MFA (at San Francisco Art Institute) and where I got my start as a working artist.
Many moving boxes later, we drove our trucks over two days (towed Jet Ski included) to Texas — with a stop at Waffle House along the way. We finally found the warehouse studio space of my dreams in a rural area up north [of Austin] and, as I sit here now, I can hear the neighbor’s rooster crow.
What’s new with you, professionally?
Jerald and Mary Melberg brought my work to the Hamptons Market Art + Design fair over the summer of 2021, as well as Art Miami in December. It was my first time exhibiting in art fairs, nevermind two that are internationally revered, so I was over the moon to have the opportunity.
After the fair in Miami, and two and a half years of separation from my family in Canada due to the pandemic, I finally got to travel up north to Ottawa, Ontario, to see my parents, sister and my nephew, Edgar, who was just 18 months old.
Travel was a big inspiration for the paintings in your last show in Charlotte. What influenced the works in the upcoming exhibition?
When we got back from Canada, an invitation from two friends in Denver to celebrate New Year’s Eve together spiraled into our next road trip, and what would be my next voyage of inspiration.
Together we drove across Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico. We spent our days riding mountains and playing with our dog, Sophie, in the snow. This exhibition takes tremendous inspiration from this trip through color, texture and mood. Many of these states I had never traveled to, so the experiences and emotions we shared exploring came home to the studio and the paintings.
At the same time, over the past two years I have been infatuated with images and articles concerning space travel and photography. I had already been dreaming about how color beyond Earth might look and feel, but the recent infrared photos (from the James Webb Space Telescope) have really knocked my socks off. So you might find that some of my painting titles reference my cosmic and intergalactic interest.
What do you miss most about Charlotte?
There are so many aspects of Charlotte I miss but, if I had to make a shortlist, it would be our friends, the trees and my daily drive home from the studio, where I would witness spectacular sunsets over the city skyline. A trip back to Charlotte is simply not complete without a tiramisu from Villani’s Bakery, an order of Bossy Bites and fries from Bossy Beulah’s, the lemongrass chicken from Lang Van, and a cocktail (or two…lol) from The Crunkleton. SP
Intelligent Abstraction II will be on view at Jerald Melberg Gallery Sept. 17 – Oct. 22. An opening reception will be held Sept. 16 from 6-8 p.m. Boxall will discuss her work and process in a “Coffee at Conversation” event at the gallery on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m.
Featured image: Artist Katherine Boxall in her Austin, Texas, studio