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Spotlight on 2022 Grant Recipient Show abstract artist Katherine Boren


Katherine Boren is an abstract and textural relief-collage artist. By employing a monochromatic palette and combination of nontraditional, unexpected materials, her works emphasize the reflection of light, varying textures and shapes, and differing grades of color saturation.

“My current work experiments with multiple mediums in two dimensions,” Katherine shares. “It is also influenced by personal, local, and world events.”

Her composition Water View is an illustration of the latter theme. It is a mixed media piece that includes sand culled from the shore of Sanibel Island. The majority of the canvas transitions from soft turquoise to the luscious, mottled emerald green you would see from a drone or dangling from a parasail high above the tranquil waters off the white sandy beaches of Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach or Destin. The waters west of Sanibel and Captiva were once that color too. And that part of Water View “celebrates the beauty of the water the way it once was and could be again if we all do our part in caring for our community and planet.”

But Water View also contains a rectangular field of color that resembles the color of the clumps of the biological gunk that issues from the mouth of the Caloosahatchee, Estero and Imperial Rivers. In fact, that rectangle of color might very well serve as a symbol for Lake Okeechobee, which is regularly blanketed by a thick mat of cyanobacteria  just waiting to be released into the Caloosahatchee by the Army Corps of Engineers, which is charged with responsibility for discharging millions of gallons of nutrient-enriched lake water into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers in order to preserve and protect the integrity of the dikes surrounding the lake.  If the releases are large enough, the algae will flow all the way into the Gulf of Mexico, where the algae-laden freshwater will mix with the ocean’s saltwater, stimulating a chemical reaction that often spawns red tide.

For centuries, artists have striven not only to draw attention to the pressing problems plaguing mankind, but to challenge us to find and implement solutions that will preserve, protect and improve ourselves, our environment and our understanding of the human condition. From within this framework, Water View can perhaps best be viewed as a clarion call for better water quality stewardship – not just from political leaders and governmental agencies, but each of us, individually and collectively, as citizens of planet Earth.

Or as Boren puts it, each of us must “do our part in caring for our community and planet.:

For example, we can and should:

  • stop mowing near streams and ponds, as this eliminates the natural protective buffer that tall grasses, shrubs and trees provide, which includes filtering stormwater runoff and providing habitat for mosquito-eating amphibians, fish and birds
  • reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides and take measures to prevent those that are uses from being washed by stormwater runoff into local waterways. (One simple prophylactic is simply checking the weather forecast and avoid applying right before a rainstorm.)
  • regularly remove debris from stormwater catch basins, storm drains and curbs.
  • design and construct a rain garden to reduce erosion, promote ground water discharge and remove pollutants from stormwater runoff.
  • use native plants to reduce soil erosion and prevent sediment from loading your waterways.
  • develop a stewardship plan for your community.

Some of the other works that Boren will include in the 2022 Biennial Individual Artist Grant Recipient Exhibition include the mixed media pieces titled Living Waters, River of Grass Interrupted, An Artist’s Dilemma and Entry, along with five acrylic-on-canvas paintings, Skin in the Game, Flesh, Summer on Edge, Spring Interrupted and Spring Hovering.

Boren regularly exhibits at venues throughout Southwest Florida. She enumerates all the shows in which her work has been featured since 2009 on her website.

Originally from New York, Katherine studied at New York University and The New School, graduating from the State University of New York with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in sculpture. Katherine has served as Executive Director of the Young Artists Awards and Advisory Director and past president (2009) of the Lee County Alliance for the Arts. She received Individual Artist Arts and Culture Grants from the City of Fort Myers in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021.

April 16, 2022.



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