Katie Stout Finds Room to Grow in Upstate New York

One sculpture in progress inside Katie Stout’s new studio is a verdant ceramic creature whose frogginess is belied by shiny gold human lips. The base is a spiral familiar to anyone who has ever bounced on a kiddie spring rider outside a store. It’s fantastic and fun, much like the artist herself: Stout has a fondness for the camp aesthetic, which in her case includes fat florals, quirky animals, human figures with exaggerated features (notably: boobs), clashing colors, a penchant for pink, and an overall emphasis on ornament. “I’m dying to make a playground!” Stout tells me as we admire the froggy figure. It would be a natural fit: Nearby are a rose-colored centaur rocking horse and a tower composed of leaping dogs.

But instead of a park or backyard, Stout’s pieces are headed to Miami, where they will be on view during the city’s Basel-anchored Art Week. On December 4, Stout’s solo exhibition will open at Nina Johnson gallery, in Little Haiti. And in the Wynwood neighborhood will be Stout’s first public commission: a large-scale re-creation of one of her watercolors.

When I visit her this summer, Stout, 34, is immersed in the transformation of her home and family. Just over a year ago, she and her husband, Jeff Kinkle, an arts and entertainment lawyer whom she married in 2019, left their longtime home of New York City for Germantown, an upstate enclave where the couple bought a 19th-century church property on an unassuming street. The church’s enormous nave, ­complete with a bell tower and arched stained-glass windows, is now Stout’s studio. She pulled out all the pews so that her five studio employees would have space, dropped a disco ball from the ceiling, and built an addition to fit her four kilns.

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