West Main Artists Co-Op

Three New Exhibitions Open at West Main Artists Co-op!

Caution: Wet Paint & Whimsy

Four Spartanburg Artists Come Together Again, 10 Years After First Exhibit

For the second time in 10 years, four Upstate South Carolina artists, who are personal friends, will have a group exhibit. This time, Monta Anthony, George “Buck” Brandt III, Ann Crenshaw, and Karen White have contributed to “Caution: Wet Paint & Whimsy” to be shown at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg, Sept. 4-30.

The diverse works will open for free public viewing Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The public reception will be Thursday, Sept. 20, 5-9 p.m. Each artist is contributing 10 paintings to the exhibit.

“This will be one of our more eclectic exhibits,” Curator Dwight Rose said. “Other than these people being respected artists who paint mostly in oil and who are good friends, I don’t really know their common bond. I do know from seeing their work, this exhibit will be interesting. It is sort of like having four mini-exhibits come together. They are calling it ‘Caution! Wet Paint & Whimsy.’ Originally, I had reached out to just one of them, but on that artist’s suggestion that it be a group exhibit, I said, ‘Sure. Let’s see what you’ve got.’ They’ve got some really great art individually, as well as a group.”

All of the canvas paintings were done in oil. Generally, Anthony’s work is considered to be colorful and impressionistic, and some of her favorite subjects are landscapes, animals, and cars. Brandt’s work often has highly defined and dense colorful images with overlapping graphic elements giving the painting a modernist appeal. Crenshaw often paints landscapes and people doing routine tasks. Her paintings have a soft impressionistic quality with shadows giving depth to the composition. And White’s paintings have a dream-like quality used to depict horses, dogs, and other artists.

“Four good friends did an art show 10 years ago at the Bijou and are back and still painting,” Anthony said. “We decided it was time to do another one. Plus, we have so much fun together. I hope that it will make people smile and enjoy the journey the four of us have had as artists.”

Anthony grew up in a small town outside of Richmond, VA before moving to South Carolina as a college student. Although trained as a classical musician, she always felt more passionate about visual art than music. To feed her artistic urges over the years, she studied art and pottery whenever possible while raising her four children. As her children approached college, Anthony began painting seriously. Having worked in watercolors, sculpture, and large scale murals, she found her love in oils, and has since accomplished many commissioned works. From Harley Davidsons and Airstreams to landscapes and portraits, Anthony’s paintings encapsulate both traditional and whimsical images of the South. Today Anthony’s paintings hang in private collections across the U.S. and Europe. She is a member of the Woman Painters of the Southeast, Oil Painters of America and the Spartanburg Artist Guild. Since 1980, she and her husband have lived in an old hunting lodge on a lake in Pauline. Her website is MontaAnthony.com.
“I hope people will see what we love painting,” Anthony said. “I am always chasing the light and can often be seen running down our hill with my camera in my pink bathrobe early in the morning. That drama and color fascinate me, and I never seem to run out of things I want to paint. I want to evoke feelings of color and light in my work and capture the people, place and things with a recognizable style and voice. I love the quote from Joaquin Sorolla: ‘Light is the life of everything it touches.’”
Although Anthony is not a member of the Co-op, she said, “but I enjoy going there. We are so fortunate to be exhibiting there. I think it’s a fabulous concept, and Spartanburg is very lucky to have such a great venue. It is so very wonderful for our artist community and the public. It’s a great way to tie in the East side with the West.”
Her work will be for sale at the Co-op, ranging in price from $300 to $2,400. “I hope we can catch the imagination of everyone who comes through the door and that they will leave with smiles and maybe a painting they love,” Anthony said.
Crenshaw said people can expect see “bright and varied paintings” as her contribution to the exhibit. Her paintings will be both characteristic of and a departure from what she has done in the past. “I hope they see how supportive Spartanburg is to its artists.
“I am looking forward to exhibiting at WMAC,” she continued. “I am so pleased that Spartanburg has a welcoming place for art to grow. It is so nice to know artists who show there, and I am always learning of new artists and artists of various mediums who display their talents for our community. To quote Kelly Kane, Editor-in-Chief of Plein Air magazine, ‘How you connect to the communities you paint in can be extraordinarily beneficial to them and to you. We’re all in this together.’”
Crenshaw has said she paints because it is enjoyable trying to solve visual puzzles. “How do you take what you see and put it on a flat surface and then take the flat surface and make it look like you can reach into it?” she said. She does not have any specialized focus on landscapes, still life, or figurative work. There is so much out there that she can’t settle down. The main thing that painting has taught her is to look at something and then look at it again! “This is a wonderful world,” she said. “I love to look more closely at it!” Her work is sampled online at TheArtistIndex.com/AnnCrenshaw.
White is a self-taught artist who uses oil to paint narratives. “I have always loved a good story,” she said. “Each work becomes a jump-off into a storyland, some imagined place or moment in time, a whimsical glimpse. Dogs and horses are a big part of my life and often find their way into my work, usually in a happy way.” A native of Spartanburg, White now lives in Landrum. She received a liberal arts education from Converse College, where she developed her love of art that was originally inspired by her mother, who painted portraits and encouraged her to be creative through music, dance, cinema, literature, and, of course, visual art. Marriage and the rearing of six daughters put White’s paintings on hold until about 17 years ago when she returned to serious painting. “Once again, I felt the delighted pleasure of a child just drawing pictures and exploring light and color, subject and technique,” she said. Her website is KarenMooreWhiteArt.com.
Brandt describes himself as a “lawyer by day; a painter on the weekend.” At 69 years old, he started painting at 40. “It is never too late to begin painting,” he added. He is a self-taught artist, who was inspired by Henri Matisse and his uncle Warren Brandt.
Brandt is a 1971 graduate of Wofford College and a 1975 graduate of University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a partner in the Spartanburg-based firm Henderson, Brandt & Vieth, P.A. With more than 43 years of experience, his practice areas are personal injury, wrongful death, workers’ compensation, civil litigation, real estate, divorce and custody. He is a member of Episcopal Church of the Advent. And, he is a former board member of the Spartanburg County Museum of Art and the current Chairman of the Advisory Board for WMAC.
“This is a true artistic pleasure venue,” Brandt said about exhibiting at West Main Artists Co-op. He hopes that patrons will come see his and his friends’ work — “that we are still painting, 10 years after our first show.”


Greer Artist to Exhibit Ceramics at Spartanburg Co-op

Tapping into his love of nature, ceramicist and photographer Dave Sawyer will exhibit “Wildness,” a collection of pottery and decorative wall art, at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg, Sept. 20-Oct. 13.

This work can be viewed at no cost Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A public reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

“This is a celebration of nature and the importance of its wildness in our world,” Sawyer said. “As Henry David Thoreau proclaimed, ‘We need the tonic of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk…’ More so now than ever before, this is true,” he explained. “This exhibit is a celebration of the variety of nature throughout America and hopefully a reminder of the importance of untamed wilderness and its counterbalance to our world of civilization.”

The exhibition of 15 works will consist of both vessels and wall art that will be an “enjoyment and a reminder of the importance of nature and its wildness,” Sawyer said. “It will be an artistic interpretation of wildlife and natural environs found across America using clay as a canvas and a variety ceramic glazes and firing techniques with a combination of detailed designs and free-form expression of color.”

Sawyer has worked on this exhibit for the past year, and the pieces will be for sale, ranging in price of $50-$1500.

A native of Kansas, Sawyer’s professional career of 30-plus years was in urban planning, and he worked for various cities mostly along the Pacific Coast. He began exploring his creative side in 2008 with classes at an artisan studio and soon began working with photography as well. Now retired, he and his wife live in Greer, SC. He has no formal education or training in art but has always appreciated both photography and ceramics. Since 2016, he has been a member of West Main Artists Co-op, where he has a studio and is also the volunteer chair of the Development Committee and a member of the Management Board. He is also a member with Carolina Clay Artists in Spartanburg and Tryon Painters and Sculptors in Tryon, NC.

“I am thrilled and very blessed to have this exhibition of my ceramic work and most of all to have my granddaughter Kaydee exhibiting her awesome photography in a show of her own in the adjacent gallery here at WMAC. WMAC has provided me with an opportunity to expand my artistic experience with both wonderful studio and gallery spaces and most important of all a refreshing and enlightening collaboration with other artists in a variety of artistic mediums.”

In his artist’s statement, Sawyer says: “Much of my ceramic work uses the Western Raku technique of firing. This technique combines the interaction of clay, glaze, and fire in a rapidly changing series of environments that results in unique and often unpredictable results. I enjoy combining detailed designs with the spontaneous effects of raku glazes and firing to present elements of both structure and freedom in my pieces. My inspiration comes from the world around us and reflects my love of history and God’s great gift of nature.”     To see samples of Sawyer’s work, visit online: DRS23.com.


Greenville Photographer to Exhibit Raw Emotion in Spartanburg

Greenville professional photographer Kaydee Hughes will exhibit her latest creative works at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg, Sept. 20-Oct. 13, in a collection named “Unfettered.”

The public can view this exhibition at no charge Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the non-profit gallery. A public reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

As a portrait and wedding photographer, Hughes’s mission is “to capture the rawest emotion possible. With my images, I set the mood for these moments with rich contrast and bold highlights.” As the exhibit will show, much of her work is considered creative, dark, and moody. The works were inspired by “My personal battles and triumphs,” the 25-year-old said. It is her hope that this exhibit will send a message of “release from restraint or inhibition.”

“Each photograph is a piece of my heart,” she said. “My photographs are how I express myself. They are a direct reflection of me.” Hughes spent about four months putting this exhibit together, and the prints will be for sale, starting at $200 each.

A native of Southern California, Hughes relocated to South Carolina in 2012 and started her career in photography. He is married to tattoo artist Justin Walker. The self-taught photographer said, “I love my family. I have given myself the title ‘Momtographer’ because I love being a mom with a camera. It has given me a hunger to capture every fleeting moment that I can. I use my photography as self discovery.”

In her artist’s statement, Hughes says: “Photography is a huge part of my life. I grew up seeing the world around me through my viewfinder. Throughout my photography career, I have photographed the most-cherished moments in my clients’ lives — weddings, births, as well as important milestones. When I am not shooting, I am always on the hunt for amazing architecture lines and neat shadows. With my photography, I want to be a light in the dark place, a safe place in my community.” When Hughes isn’t photographing families, she spends her time collaborating with creative people in her community.

“I am so honored and thrilled for this exhibit, to display my photographs at West Main Artists Co-op,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded creatives in my community. I am beyond grateful for my supportive family of creatives, Justin Walker Tattoo and Dave Sawyer (her grandfather).”

To see samples of Hughes’s work, visit her website: KaydeeHughesPhotography.com.

West Main Artists Co-op is a nonprofit and all-volunteer arts agency on Main Street Spartanburg. It is housed in the old West Main Baptist Church and is continuously renovated by its members who are 50-plus strong. It provides affordable work spaces for more than 30 artists in the 20,000-square-foot building. In addition, the Co-op has the largest collection of locally made art for sale with extremely diverse buying options, including pottery, jewelry, paintings, sculptures, quilts. Each month, the Co-op hosts three new exhibits by its members and nonmembers, some of whom enjoy regional and even national recognition.

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/