When Katherine Boxall was in elementary school, enjoying an active childhood in Ottawa, Canada, her class took a field trip to the nearby National Art Gallery. As her peers and teachers sped through the gallery, counting down the minutes until they could depart, Boxall lingered. 


"I was looking over my shoulder with heaviness in my heart because I wanted to look longer," remembers Boxall. "By the time the field trip made it to the modern art section, all the other kids were saying, 'This is so dumb, I could do that.' But I was busy thinking, wow, I would really, really like to try to do any of this."


Despite the mark this early memory left on young Boxall, she spent the remainder of her education acquiring a breadth of knowledge. She took classes in business, psychology, mathematics, accounting, and marketing, before fully embracing art late in her undergraduate career.

That diverse skillset accounts partially for Boxall's impressive resume; after undergraduate, Boxall landed a job with fashion designer Greta Constantine, designing digital creative content. Later, after attaining an MFA at San Francisco Art Institute, she followed her boyfriend to Charlotte. There, she once again put her knowledge to use and obtained a marketing position at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation.


An Artist, First and Foremost

Although Boxall has filled supporting roles for the artist community, she belongs center-stage as an artist. Her work, each piece often enormous in size, elicits open-mouthed awe. She has shown her work in Canada, Australia, and the United States.


Her process is both intentional and intuitive, big and small. She tests colors, textures, compositions, and other elements on small canvases placed aside her massive and final canvas. She follows her intuition as she tests, then intentionally compiles each element in her final composition. "The smaller works act like continuously evolving sketches," says Boxall. "They keep me intuitive, fresh, and bold while leaving me with a map and the confidence to attack my larger and more thoughtful work."


Her bread and butter throughout undergrad was representational figurative painting using oil paint. While at San Francisco Art Institute, she discovered a box of acrylic and house paints in the basement of her apartment building. She resolved to experiment. Now, she has expanded her repertoire to abstract and mixed media painting. Her expansive artistic wheelhouse affords Boxall the creative flexibility she craves. "When I was a kid I loved creating imaginary worlds and playing characters with my friends. I think making art became my personal extension of that desire to escape, play, better understand reality, sometimes control, and other times be spontaneous," muses Boxall.


After a year at the McColl Center, Boxall departed to pursue a part-time position at Jerald Melberg Gallery at the corner of Providence and Sharon Amity, which afforded more time for her art. Now, she's represented by Jerald Melberg Gallery. She has a solo show there slated for the end of 2020 or early 2021.


Intrinsic to Boxall's process of creation is the delight of having the power to choose; she exercises total control over each canvas, which offers an unbiased repository for pure expression."Lots of times I'm excited to share my work. I'm excited that it can be just about the wonder of color and texture. Other times it's more personal, and I don't have to share," says Boxall. "Ultimately, I love having this choice."


Although no one would begrudge Boxall the decision to keep her pieces to herself, we as viewers are far better off each time she elects to introduce them to the public.

August 1, 2020