By Ann Knickerbocker, GRO
Each summer, Gallery Route One in Point Reyes Station presents The Box Show, where 150 artists paint, sculpt, light up, collage and otherwise alter simple wooden boxes, made by Nick Corcoran – it was his idea 16 years ago. The completed boxes – now works of art – are donated to the gallery and then exhibited. Gallery Route One runs a silent auction, where visitors write out bids on the boxes they like. The silent part lasts seven weeks. On the final night, every box is auctioned off in a not-so-silent party. Most people fall in love with one box; in 2013, Margo Wixsom fell in love with, well, 17 of them.
Wixsom is an artist herself, a photographer of landscapes with an ecological perspective: “I like to frame the ordinary moments, to show that the extraordinary is always happening. I want people to stop and see that every sunset is extraordinary. It’s always a show, even when it’s foggy and raining. You can still say, ‘look at the way the rain is pooling on these leaves.’ ”
When she wasn’t taking photographs, she often stopped in at Gallery Route One because “it’s a world-class gallery right in the middle of such a small town.”
For a long time now, Wixsom says, she has known that “art kind of saved my life.” But last year, after a fluke accident, she was injured, bedridden for four months. “It’s astonishing,” she says, “how such a little thing can cause so much damage.” Visits to friends and family were postponed; flying was out of the question. Wixsom’s own photography was limited by her immobility. Something had to change, and she says she knew that, “art has brought me back from difficult times. It’s an active way to recover from difficult situations.” One day last year, in one of her first outings away from home in Santa Clara, Wixsom’s husband drove with her around Inverness and Point Reyes Station. They saw the Box Show sign at Gallery Route One and decided to see what was on display for 2013. There was that money that could not be spent on travel…and Wixsom made the decision “to create my own little world of delight and joy.” They came back for the final night’s auction and party and she won her 17 boxes in a fast-paced auction throughout the gallery. “It was delightful,” she says.
Wixsom, who says she also bought two boxes in 2012, continues to be amazed by the way each artist “took the same little space and created an entire world,” and says that the feeling of that “personal vision” was “very valuable…it was worth a lot to me.” Some box artists are professional artists, well-known for their woodcuts or paintings, others have worked in special effects for the film industry, and others do just this one creative thing – the box – each year. The full range of boxes for 2013 can be viewed here: http://galleryrouteone.org/box-show-archive/the-box-show/entries-2013.html
Asked if she will come again this year, Wixsom says, “absolutely!”
This year, the Box Show will be held at Gallery Route One from August 1, every day, through the final night’s auction on September 14.