New Exhibitions and a Book Release, Only at WMAC!
Auntie and Andy
Two Local Artists Related By Marriage Exhibit Together
Two local artists who are related by marriage and creativity will exhibit their separate works in side-by-side galleries at West Main Artists Co-op March 3-31.
Co-op member Andy Donnan will exhibit a collection of acrylics, pastels, and oils on canvas depicting branded condiments, other food-related items, and his work as a physician’s assistant. His aunt-in-law Susan M. Hopps will exhibit her collection of mostly watercolors, depicting plants, animals, and landscapes. Together, the co-exhibits are titled “Auntie and Andy.”
“I have always been impressed with my wife’s Aunt’s creative abilities,” Donnan said. “When I heard that if we showed and there was space you could invite someone, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been painting for years, and I felt like this was a great opportunity to show with someone I really respect as an artist and person.”
“My nephew Andy is a member of WMAC. He had the idea for us to exhibit together, since he was able to invite a guest artist,” Hopps said. “I was delighted to have this opportunity to show with him.”
Both exhibits will be open for free public viewing Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free public reception will be held Thursday, March 21, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk, a public event when most art museums and galleries stay open late to showcase new exhibits. A third exhibit at the Co-op will be “Pye Pond–A Memoir” by Danielle Fontaine who works in encaustics. Normally, West Main Artists Co-op has three exhibits each month: two by members; one by a guest artist.
A native of Maryland, Donnan, 59, has been a member at WMAC since 2015 and is a citizen of downtown Spartanburg, after spending 30 years in Georgia. He has been a physician’s assistant for 35 years and has painted for nearly 20 years. His exhibit will have 15 to 20 pieces of original art. “Mostly, people will see 20×16 (inch) acrylics of still lifes, mostly in the impressionistic style. There will be a few painting of landscapes, which have special meanings from trips I’ve made.
“Most of the painting I’ve done are for my children, particular the still lifes of condiments,” he continued. “I paint to escape from my daily life and to create. As a healthcare provider, everything I do is transient and doesn’t last. I paint to create something that lasts and, if by chance it’s here 100 years from now, that would be great. Two pieces that will be in the exhibit have previously been hung. They are of Michael Roberts and myself, while we are operating on a cardiac surgery patient and waiting for them to come off bypass. I spent many hours with him in that position, waiting. Dr Roberts died 20 years ago, and this is my little thank you for all he taught me.”
Donnan’s artwork will be for sale, ranging in price from $300 to $850. It took him about nine months to assemble this exhibit, although some of the paintings are several years old.
In artistic and style contrast, Hopps’s work is representational with a few abstracts. Although the Spartanburg native is not a member of WMAC, she has exhibited throughout the region with Artists’ Guild Spartanburg; in Union, SC; and in North Carolina’s Tryon and Hendersonville. This will be her first exhibit at WMAC. Her 20 to 25 pieces of artwork will be for sale, ranging in price from $175 to $575. Most of the works in this exhibit were created during the past two year.
“I hope to convey the beauty of nature on this earth, the wonderful shapes and colors of this earth’s plants and animals, sometimes humorous and unusual relationships,” Hopps said. “People will see primarily watercolors depicting my sense of wonder at the natural world, as well as interesting people and places and events that make me smile. I hope the paintings make viewers smile, too. I hope they think about earth’s precious animals and plant resources and care for them. It’s a chance to call attention to the natural world, to appreciate the colors, shapes, and variety of life forms that all exist together on this earth.”
By profession, Hopps was a teacher for 31 years in Spartanburg County School District 7. After retiring in 2004, she became an art student and experimented with various media, eventually using watercolors as her primary medium. Most of her work is based in nature, and she has received several regional awards in juried shows. She now lives at Lake Bowen in Inman, SC.
“It’s a great chance for Andy and me to show our art together,” she said. “We both love creating, although our styles differ and we prefer a different medium, our subject matter often relates to nature , the earth and its beauty.”
“WMAC is wonderful place to work as an artist,” Donnan said. “The leadership is incredible and has made this place where artists want to come and work. Fellow members are very supportive of each other, are excited to see each other, and interest in your progress. WMAC is a great resource for Spartanburg, because of the members, leadership, and what we have to offer the tourist industry. A great place to visit at no cost.”
‘Pye Pond—A Memoir’
Greenville Artist To Tell Southern Story Through Encaustics at Spartanburg Co-op
Danielle Fontaine will be a guest artist at West Main Artists Co-op March 5-30, exhibiting her encaustic work “Pye Pond — A Memoir” and metaphorically asking the question: Why do we choose to keep or discard certain things in our lives? Her explorations take the form of a pictorial memoir focused on a small family farm in South Georgia.
The exhibit of a few dozen works will be open for free public viewing Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free public reception for this exhibit will be Thursday, March 21, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk, when most of the art museums and galleries in Spartanburg stay open late to showcase their newest exhibitions.
“I would like my visitors to spend a little time considering the enduring question of what we elect to keep or preserve and the reasons why, and reflect on what, or whom, we discard along the way. I hope people get an appreciation for the power of storytelling in visual arts, and for the little-known medium of encaustics, and for the beauty of family history in all its entanglements,” the Canadian native said.
“I have been collecting images since 2010, amassing more photos every time we visit the family farm on the pond in South Georgia,” she said. “I began doing the encaustic work based on this series of photographs when the Greenville Center for Creative Arts opened in 2015. The realization that I was creating a pictorial memoir came gradually as the work evolved. The story, in the studio as in life, is a work in progress.”
West Main Artist Co-op’s Venue curator Dwight Rose recruited Fontaine to exhibit in Spartanburg. “Danielle is an exceptional artist, and her exhibit is very storytelling about the South, which will appeal to a great many people. However, another reason I wanted to bring her work to Spartanburg was to give people another version of what it means to work in encaustics. So much of that work in general is very abstract and nonrepresentational. With Danielle, the patron can more easily see the representational images that are being used.”
Most of her work will be for sale, ranging in price from $120 to $5,200.
Fontaine came to Upstate South Carolina in 1999 and has been a thought leader on the regional art scene ever since. She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from McGill University in Canada, a master’s degree in economics and politics from Oxford University, and a master’s degree in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte (NC). In 2015 she joined the Greenville Center for Creative Art as one of its inaugural studio artists. While being a producing artist in Greenville, she branched out. “I initiated the pilot program for The Warehouse Theatre’s This Wooden Oeducational outreach and mentored the first Greenville County High Schools Art Exhibit during the inaugural year of Artisphere,” she said. “I am the co-founder and curator of the SeasonArt Series, a happy marriage of visual arts and literature at The Warehouse Theatre. With my husband Bill McLendon I founded the Brandon Fellowship at the Greenville Center for Creative Arts. I currently serve on the Urban Panel of the City of Greenville’s Design Review Board.”
Additionally, she is the recipient of a 2018 grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, an organization that internationally supports emerging artists working in a representational style, as well as two grants from the Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council.
“I am humbled to exhibit at West Main,” Fontaine said. “When Dwight invited me, I eagerly accepted even though I was not familiar with the Venue. I always trust Dwight implicitly – he is a fantastic person! I went to visit soon afterwards and the exhibit at the time was a retrospective of Mayo Mac Boggs – such a distinguished artist and a Verner Award winner! A very tough act to follow, but also an inspiration and a great motivation. I will work hard to make Dwight, WMAC, and the memory of Mayo Mac Boggs very proud.
“WMAC is a treasure for members and patrons, a haven for artists, and a shining example of the power of the arts to both document and benefit the communities the Co-op serves, not only in Spartanburg or next door in Greenville, but throughout the state of South Carolina.” she said.
It wasn’t until her mid-50s that Fontaine began using encaustics in her art. “I am not only a visual artist but a memoirist who at this juncture is plying her craft in the language of encaustics. I believe we are all artists and storytellers and that our perfect medium is out there waiting for us to find it. A good place to start looking for it is at the local art center.”
In her artist’s statement, Fontaine explains: “My encaustic work considers the enduring question of what we elect to keep or preserve and the reasons why, and invites reflection on what, or whom, we discard along the way.Still Time on Pye Pond, my original and ongoing encaustic narrative, dwells in a family farm in South Georgia, where an odd collection of potentially fixable or reusable items await their fate in a randomly ordered fashion. I find much poetry, at once beautiful and sad, in their uncertain future. It is this conflicted beauty, this southern family portrait that I seek to recreate in my studio.
“Objects stand in for people, for kinships tangled like Spanish moss, for ideas as deeply anchored as the roots that drain the soil, for time as still as the water on the sheltered pond. For things that could be fixed. Pye Pond used to be home to all of us; not anymore. There is waywardness. Unspoken absences. When I visit occasionally – these are our roots, this is family – I escape the silence and find solace in the fields and barns around the pond, in patient mounds of old familiar things. I collect images.
“This narrative, began as small photo transfer works and then works based on photo grisailles, evolved into larger works still inspired by my photography but now interpreted freehand, or in the case of buildings, drafted the old fashion way with my trusted old mechanical pencil from my architecture school days. The stories fully emerge with the application of encaustic colors. (I also occasionally choose to simply preserve my photos under a clear coat of encaustic medium.)
“With its essential process of fusing after application, encaustic painting does not lend itself easily to straight line work. Learning to control this process in my unconventional encaustic work is a challenge I relish. It is a conscious attempt at harnessing wandering thoughts and reframing unspoken absences.”
To preview Fontaine’s work, visit online: DanielleFontaineArtist.com.
Bailie’s Book Release and Art Sale
Shadowland, a short experimental novel by Spartanburg artist Bailie, will be released Thursday, March 21, at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg. The author/artist will be there to meet and greet, and promote his book, which is about a small town with a secretive past, an old curse, and more than 95 quirky characters — all of whom are being transformed into ragdoll-like creatures. Original published art work will be available for sale on the downstairs stage at WMAC during the month of March.
“Think of this book as a small town like Mayberry R.F.D., with a dark side, like Nightmare Before Christmas,” Bailie said, referencing the television series of the late 1960s about life in a small southern town and the 1993 animation movie that surreally mashed together Halloween and Christmas. “It is definitely character driven, and each uniquely weird character was drawn and published in the book as artwork. This is my third publishing project and undoubtedly my strangest. It is dark, odd, complex, and even funny in some parts. The story line is very engrossing; the artwork is unbelievable. It’s a mind-blowing book.” For more information about Shadowland visit https://www.facebook.com/theshadowlandcharacters/.
West Main Artists Co-op is a non-profit arts agency located at 578 West Main St. in Spartanburg. It has about 50 members whose work spans the visual arts spectrum. It also has performance artists. Now in its tenth year, the Co-op routinely has three exhibitions each month, often showing the work of non-member guest artists. It is housed in a 20,000-square-foot converted church that includes studio space for the members, four galleries, two stages, and the largest collection of “for sale” art in the county. For more information, visit online: WestMainArtists.org.