Katharine Mulherin at Art Toronto, 2015. Photo: Phil Anderson
Remembering Katharine Mulherin (1964-2019)
The Toronto art community is mourning the loss of one of its most beloved gallerists Katharine Mulherin. Born in Grand Falls New Brunswick, Katharine was a graduate of OCADU and helped launch the career of many of her fellow students. She had a great eye for talent and also took some of the artists south of the border to New York and L.A. when she opened a gallery in New York and had representation in L.A.
I first met Katharine when she opened her first gallery in Parkdale on Queen St. West near Queen and Gwyne St. The Bus Gallery became popular quickly as Katharine represented artists with unique styles and avoided convention. Also, an artist, I remember exhibiting her work at Gallery 1313 in a show, titled Adventure in October, 2002. It was a large photograph of herself in a wedding dress and she shared the story behind the work.
We were connected from the beginning, having a maritime background. She had a wonderful laugh. She was part of a jury for an exhibition called CODE @ Gallery 1313 with Gary Michael Dault and myself. We looked through hundreds of artist slides from the many submissions to select 7 artists for the show. My fondest memory of Katherine is when we were seating on the floor of Bus Gallery with artist and curator Janet Bellotto, in 1999, I think. We were trying to problem solve some technology for an installation and at some point, we just broke into infectious laughter.
Over the years whenever I saw her, she always had a wonderful smile for me and we would catch up.
I heard the tragic news of her death when returning from the East Coast on holiday, and saw the posts on Facebook. Like others I was taken by surprise. I wish I had seen her in her new location on Dupont St.
Katharine will always be remembered for her impact on the Toronto art scene.
In Toronto we seem to recognize our heroes only when they are gone. There is a Go Fund Me page to raise money for the family who are struggling with their loss. Like others I will cherish my memories of Katharine and always remember her gracious smile.
Phil Anderson, artist, executive director of Gallery 1313, co-publisher of Artoronto