Boxall 2021 Flip

Boxall began as a figurative painter. Gradually, Boxall loosened her lines, breaking down the form of the body into broad expanses and elongated, rounded contours. Since 2018, Boxall has worked exclusively in abstraction, although her colors still hint at the corporeal instead of the atmospheric. On some canvases—BURNT BUBBLEGUM and CHERRY COLA, it seems as if veins ruptured and pale skin acquired bruises. Her working process, Boxall says, still ties the paintings to the body:

Conversely, her new work, although made in a city warehouse, is informed by Boxall’s experiences camping in the middle of an international pandemic. Immersed in undisturbed and wildly diverse landscapes, she discovered a sense of calm and peace unknown to her in cities and yet, still found herself attuned to the antagonism around her from sources such as the sulfur- filled springs, a subtle menace detected in the acrid greens of the enticingly titled BEAUTY POOL. Boxall explains:

These new works are more atmospheric, more about landscape, reflecting where I was in 2020, in total isolation. But they also reference environmental landmarks where I was camping—Yellowstone Park, The Grand Tetons and California coast’s blue bodies of water. They are toxic and you want to enter them, but they are menacing. 8

You start with a map of the body with crayon or pastel because it doesn’t muddy any of the oil colors; instead, it becomes absorbed. (Graphite will ruin the pigment.) It allows you to be loose with that material and still be accurate and thoughtful. 4

After sketching her composition on the canvas, she pours acrylic into pools, and then paints in oil around them. Oil is the last thing I use , Boxall says, because it sits on top of all that acrylic paint and maintains its luster. 5 She also employs spray paint, which she says,

Landscapes such as BEAUTY POOL and YELLOWSTONE were painted after Boxall returned to Charlotte, where another unnatural dichotomy awaited her—although she lived in a city again, the pandemic shut down society, with businesses shuttered and streets sparsely peopled. She implies subtle shifts in space and time—a still landscape (TWO BLUES)— with the movement of the pours and atmospheric haze created by layers of transparent paint and aerosol sprays of pigment. That tension, in Boxall’s words, becomes more about the split moment, reflecting fleeting moments of happiness felt during this time. 9 This is particularly potent in the recent landscapes, in which one feels the overwhelming awe of Boxall in the presence of these landscapes. There is precedence for this: poets like William Wordsworth and painters like Clifford Still have captured that overwhelming sensation of the natural world’s resounding presence in which humans happen to live. Boxall builds upon this record of reactions—the soft beauty of her

is a pure San Francisco influence. All of those artists were using it and it retained the strong colors I would see on the outside. Bright colors on houses and the bold mark making of street artists could be brought into the studio just by using spray paint. 6

Despite moving beyond representation, this first series of abstractions were inspired by city streets. Boxall describes them as responding to the hustle and bustle of urban life, where organic material (people, trees, clouds, sky) must find its place in spaces defined by the industrial (steel, asphalt, brick, architectural forms). When you find a harmony, that’s what you’re looking for as a painter. That’s what becomes interesting and haunting and worth looking at. 7

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