West Main Artists Co-Op

 New Exhibitions at West Main Artists Co-op!


Kathleen Moore: The Storyteller
Spartanburg Artist to Exhibit at West Main Artists Co-op

Well known local ceramic artist Kathleen Moore will exhibit an extensive body of work at West Main Artists Co-op March 6-31, giving the public an intimate look at how art is a storytelling medium. The free and public reception will be Thursday, March 15, 5-9 p.m. during Spartanburg’s monthly ArtWalk.

“Kathleen Moore: The Storyteller” will have more than 100 works of art in clay and combined with variety of mixed media and found artifacts. It will be in the cooperative’s large Venue gallery that was once a church sanctuary. “You will come across great stories every day if you only listen,” the Michigan native said recently. “Someone asked me if I had any good stories that I wanted to share. I have brought several together for you to enjoy. Some will make you cry; others will make you laugh so hard you wet your panties! I hope you enjoy them both. You can expect to be surprised. Some of the works actually require viewer participation. I hope you will smile when they walk away. I hope you will say, ‘Hummm, I have a story, how can I tell it in an interesting manner?’ Some of the stories have been rolling around in my head for several years waiting for some bizarre spark to inspire me to illustrate it. Some pieces sprang to life almost instantly when I came across an interesting object to hold the story.”

Moore’s insightful storytelling through art was mystically foretold when she was 12 years old: She and her family were visiting Northern Michigan, when an elderly woman, most likely an elder from the Huron Indian Tribe — “a stranger with deep penetrating eyes” — gently cupped the child’s face in her wrinkled hands, smiled, and said, “You are not at storyteller yet — but you will be!”

Many of the works will be for sale, starting with functional mugs, bowls, and vases for $30. Other larger sculptural pieces will price as high as $3,000. Most of the work on display will be recently made, however, some of it will from her student days, giving the public the opportunity to see her creative development over time. Some of the more quirky and thought-provoking pieces will include metallic heads with elaborate hair mounted on toy safes with combination locks; primitive and sexualized corked vases; ceramic figures incorporated into machine parts; animal figures; bulbous torsos; and egg-like figures with minimal faces.

Moore’s work often uses a bit of whimsy to tell a story. She has recently completed a week long teaching assignment at Pine Street Elementary School in Spartanburg where she taught the traditions and methods that allowed more than 120 students to each create their own unique and very ugly face jugs. Kathleen has taught this program for the past three years and said she is still astounded by the imagination of the students. She is fascinated with the way all stories are connected and likes to explore what is hidden within the obvious.

She also enjoys making functional wheel-thrown pieces, as well as hand-built forms, that explore fertility — not just physical reproductive fertility but fertility of the mind. This interest in fertility keeps taking Moore back to the classroom. She loves teaching and calls it her “first love.”  She finds great satisfaction in pushing students of all ages to develop their own style and in urging them to think constructively about themselves and the art they make.

Moore is “approved” by the South Carolina Arts Commission as one of the state’s “Artist in Residence,” which allows her to travel to schools and introduce students to the joy of working in a 3-dimensional format. She has one strict class rule: “If it’s not fun, we are not doing it!” In addition to visiting and teaching at schools throughout South Carolina, Moore has served in many other teaching positions, including being the Art School Director for Spartanburg Art Museum; Director of Educational Program at the Artists Junction in Sarasota, FL; a ceramics instructor at the Sarasota County Adult & Community Educational Program; a graduate instructor in 3-D design; and a teaching- assistant in sculpture at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts (graphic design) from the University of West Georgia and a master’s degree in fine arts (ceramics/sculpture) from the University of Mississippi.

Known for her sense of humor and quick wit to illustrate a point, Moore declines to directly reveal her age. However, she said: “While doing a pottery wheel demo at an elementary school recently, I mentioned that I first learned on a kick-wheel that had a big stone at the bottom that I had to kick to get the thing to spin. One young man asked, ‘Like Fred Flintstone?’ I am not quite that old! (Also,) I was doing a demo once wearing my University of Mississippi–Established in 1848 T-shirt. A young man looked carefully at the shirt and then asked if that was when I went there. I’m not that old either.”

Starting in 1988, Moore began being recognized for her talents when she received an Art Department Scholarship at the University of West Georgia. In addition to other academic awards, she began receiving professional awards and recognitions in 1990s, including the much-noticed “One Woman Show: Legalized Pot.” At the turn of the century, she began a personal and professional relationship with Empty Bowls, an international pottery program that raising money to feed the needy in local communities. She has been recognized for her Empty Bowls contributions in Florida and in Upstate South Carolina. In most recent years, her work has been seen and applauded in the Upstate and Western North Carolina at various invitationals, benefits, and juried art shows.

Though not a member of West Main Artists Co-op, Moore holds the non-profit and all-volunteer arts agency in high regard. “I have always enjoyed the shows at West Main,” she said. “I think one of my favorite parts is the artists themselves. They have always been open and willing to answer questions. They don’t mind sharing and many give great hugs! The West Main Co-op is an outstanding venue. It gives artists space to work and display their artwork. Everyone I have talked with or listened to has always offered encouragement and constructive criticism to me and other artists. What a great place to get together with creative thinkers; look at innovative, exceptionally well crafted and designed works of art that can be purchased at reasonable prices all while being fed snacks and tasty beverages.”

Self described as “bespectacled, gray-haired, and salty,” Moore summarized her life and life’s work as…

“I was born in the Mitten State – that’s why I talk funny. My mother claims she couldn’t keep me out of the mud there. I left as soon as I graduated high school. Moved to Florida, and married a handsome sailor. Moved to Georgia. Had three sons. Moved back to Florida. Pick up another son: a perfectly good kid whose parents threw out without even bothering to open the door. Moved to Mississippi, where I learned to love the Blues. But Mississippi is too far away from my family. So when half of them settled in South Carolina and started having children of their own, we packed everything up and moved to South Carolina. We have settled on the east side of Spartanburg. I have a great time introducing the grandbabies to South Carolina peaches and North Carolina zip lines! I still have that same handsome sailor too.”

For more information about “Kathleen Moore: The Storyteller,” please visit online: WestMainArtists.org.

Performance & Motion
Spartanburg Photographer to Exhibit at West Main Co-op

Photography artist Thomas Koenig will exhibit multi-exposure and motion-blur photographs of performing musicians and actors at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg during March and April. “Performance & Motion” will open with a public reception on Thursday, March 15, as part of the city’s monthly ArtWalk. The exhibit will be open for free public viewing Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The exhibit’s last viewing date is Saturday, April 14.

The exhibit will explore multi-exposure and motion-blur photography taken during live performances. Multiple-exposure photography is the superimposition of two or more exposures to create a single image. Motion-blur photography is the apparent streaking of rapidly moving objects in a still image and results in the image showing changes during the recording of a single exposure, either due to rapid movement or long exposure.

Koenig has been a photographer and journalist in the Spartanburg art and music scene for nearly 20 years. Some of the pictures he chose for this show are not only a representations of multi-exposure and motion-blur photography, they are also a view into Spartanburg’s performances scene of the past 20 years and the change in imaging technology.

Koenig is the creative lead at AGE K Media LLC, a Spartanburg-based communications agency that specializes in corporate design and identity, brand building, corporate literature, marketing communications, media planning, web design, trade show design and planning, and public relations. “I have been a graphics communications professional and communication designer for all of my adult life and have worked for more than 25 years on two different continents and in two different languages. I have worked in all aspects of graphics communication, photography, design and creative concept. In addition to my professional work, I have chosen photography as my artistic outlet with several exhibits in South Carolina. Art, photography, and graphics communication for me are not only a profession, they are personal, from changes in technique and technology to changes in communication itself.”

Koenig was born in North Carolina, as the second son to Sibylla and Peter Koenig, but has spent the bigger part of his life with his family in Germany. He holds a degree in prepress production from a traditional German apprenticeship program and a diploma from the University of Applied Science Wiesbaden, Germany in communication design and photography. In addition, Koenig has done research in semiotics and practical semiotic applications at the University of South Carolina Graduate School as part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He has lived in Spartanburg since 1997.

In 2009, Koenig had a solo art show at Spartanburg Art Museum and has since been in several group shows in the US and Germany. “I would be a very happy camper If I could spent my entire professional live behind the camera. But there is still another passion, graphic design and anything that relates to the media. Semiotics are cool,” he said. “I became a member of the West Main Artist Co-op to explore creative collaborations and to go back to my craftsmen roots in print.”


Wonder of Sea and Stars
Spartanburg Artist to Showcase Inspirations from the Sea and Sky

Spartanburg artist Barbie Workman will exhibit a collection of her latest works in encaustic wax at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg in March and April, giving the public a look at her surreal and non-representational inspirations from the sea and sky.

“Wonder of Sea and Stars” will have about 30 pieces and will be open for free public viewing Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. The exhibit will open with a public reception on Thursday, March 15, during the city’s monthly ArtWalk, 5-9 p.m.

“The message of my exhibit ‘Wonder of Sea and Stars’ is an invitation to the viewer to disconnect from the distractions of modern life, opening up to the beautiful mysteries and wonders of our natural world,” the artist said. “My inspiration came from observing the ocean on a daily basis while living in Florida — the power of the waters to mold the environment inspired my creativity; to share its majesty. In my childhood I enjoyed many peaceful nights of stargazing, spurring my imaginings into surreal dreams. Both of these aspects of our natural world fostered a place of peace, dreams, hope, and creativity, which taught lessons in awestruck wonder to my soul. I hope the viewers of these works are imparted similar moments of emotion along with inspiration.”

Workman’s art in encaustic wax often uses restricted color pallets, creating ebbing and flowing motion associated with water currents and fluid environments. Other pieces imply an extraterrestrial vastness filled with unknown possibilities. Viewers often characterize her compositions as soothing, surreal, and inspiring. All of the work, which was created during the past two years, will be for sale, ranging in price from $30 to $800. “Upon entering this exhibit, the viewer will see a variety of ocean-inspired encaustic works, as well as many galaxy encaustic works,” she said.

Workman began her art career after a long journey of discovering her artistic expression and talent. Her love for the art movements in fauvism, impressionism, and surrealism inspire and influence the development her own creations. With an eye for color and formation of movement through layering, she discovered the encaustic process. Her work explores the relationship between nature’s textures through the use of color values and form. “Using the mixed media encaustic process there is no limitation to movement of the composition and surreal visual feel of each individual artwork,” she said. “As shimmering replicas become frozen through studious and diverse practice, the viewer is left with a visual journey into the luminous beauty of our natural world.”

Workman has been commissioned for beach landscapes, contemporary works, and encaustic mixed media. Always seeking opportunities to give her art a home, she has donated her smaller works to various non-profit organizations. “I found my art groove at a pivotal time in my journey, and I am blessed every day to be able to live in this creative world of imaginings,” she said. “It is a passion of my life and beauty that I find overflowing into physical expressions that I am fortunate enough to share.”

Workman began her art education at the University of Central Oklahoma, then later at the University of West Florida with a focus on painting and sculpture. For a year and half, she was an artist in residence at Monroe Galleries in northeast Florida. Her encaustic mixed media work has been displayed in artisanal boutiques and small retail shops in Florida.

For more than a year, four of Workman’s seascape pieces were on display at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City as a part of Arts Council’s “Art on the Town” exhibition. She has also exhibited encaustic mixed media works at Southlight Gallery, Monroe Galleries, and Artesano Boutique all of which are in Florida. She is a native of Oklahoma, but she currently she lives in Spartanburg with her blind cat and spouse.

Upon moving to Spartanburg from Florida, Workman joined the Co-op in 2017. “I feel fortunate to be a part of this creative space that is filled with diverse talented fellow artist,” she said. “I am excited for the opportunity to display my work in this solo show.”

Workman describes her upcoming exhibit as: “The soothing colors of the sea can evoke restful auras of peace and calm, while the heavens are full of vast stars that can evoke a curiosity and wonder. Both utter curiosities to the soul for a journey of exploration to embrace its forces, rhythms, and dynamic structure. Each piece calls for exploration and is set into a visual composition using encaustic wax, found objects, 3-D sources, and various mixed media. Each composition tells a story of a moment embraced for the beauty it shared — be it a dream, a crashing wave of the sea, or stargazing the vastness of the universe.”

West Main Artists Co-op is a nonprofit and all-volunteer arts agency located at 578 West Main Street, Spartanburg. It has three galleries, two retail shops, and studio space for about 50 artists. It is a grassroots arts agency that welcomes everyone, and it has a philosophical slant toward “Art by the people, for the people.”

Normal Business hours are TUE- SAT 10-4, and 10-9 during Art Walk Thursday.  For more information please visit http://www.westmainartists.org and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/westmaincoop/