Spartanburg’s West Main Artists Co-op (WMAC) hosts the work of two members this art walk
Full Circle The canvas and ceramic work of Spartanburg artists Susan Eleazer and Christina Dixon will be on display at West Main Artists Co-Op (WMAC) Aug. 17-Sept. 17 in a dual exhibit entitled “Full Circle.” The exhibit can be viewed at no charge Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The public and free opening reception will be Thursday, Aug. 17, 5-9 p.m. as part of Spartanburg’s monthly ArtWalk.
The artists dubbed their exhibit “Full Circle” for both personal and professional reasons, noting how they found insight into their lives as they created these pieces of art. They conceived the idea for this exhibition in 2016, while working at WMAC as full-time studio members and friends. Each sees this exhibit of her work as an opportunity to show the healing effects of making art.
“I had the incredible luck to have a childhood of joy and playfulness rooted in simplicity. Things that I grew up with have stayed with me buried under layers of formal education and adult responsibility,” Eleazer said. “My works in this exhibition are my artistic attempt to return ‘Full Circle’ to joy and playfulness. I began this work with research into microscopic images of Alzheimer’s, Cirrhosis of the liver, and colon cancer, all diseases that have taken a toll on the foundation of my life by affecting my parents and other close family members. Through this research, I was able to begin to see these as patterns of color, texture and shape. With a little digging into my father’s barn, the one I’d grown up in rolling in trucks of soybeans, I was able to retrieve a treasure trove of rusted farm implements. Equipped with these materials and my research, I worked organically, letting the joy of layering paint, dye and wax lead the way. Circular shapes appear in all the works and serve as a metaphor for this journey back to joy. It is my intention within these works to simply create from within, allowing my child’s eye to guide me without the restriction of reason or explanation. For me, the work is done; the act of creating in this manner has brought me full circle to a place where simplicity rules.”
“I chose a rather personal interpretation of ‘full circle,’” Dixon said. “The term encompasses not only the return to a place or idea, but an arrival at the opposite of said original place or idea. I was most intrigued by this relationship between the original and the opposite. Thus, I chose to explore the upward and downward swings of my own mental well-being, which tends to settle into a cycle of good days and bad days. A large portion of the collection is saggar-fired raku, where flashes of color form through the chemical reactions of ferric chloride and aluminum. Other pieces are glazed Western raku, and others are carved stoneware. This collection also marks my first venture into wall sculpture. Color is strategically at work here, from the oranges and reds of empowered energy to the deep grays and blacks of deep depressive despair. Take a walk around the gallery and observe the balance shift from color to darkness. Change directions and observe the opposite. So symbolizes my periodic journey from okay, to not, and back again.”
Eleazer was born and reared in rural Sumter, SC during the late 1950s and ’60s, an environment that gave her a deep appreciation of nature and the use of her senses to experience it. She is a graduate of Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in art education. She first taught middle school art in McCormick, SC, where she met her husband Hal. Until 1998, they lived in LaGrange GA, where she continued to teach and started her own family. Returning to South Carolina — Spartanburg — she did volunteer work with the schools and her church. In 2004, she started teaching at Dorman High School, eventually becoming a full-time visual arts teacher in the fine arts department. “Nurturing children as a mother and a teacher, I am deeply interested in interpersonal relationships and nonverbal means of communication,” she said. “In 2014, I retired early from teaching art to pursue studio art full time. I became a member of WMAC in 2016 and participated in my first art exhibit in 2017.”
Dixon is a native of Nashville, TN, a city, she said, has endless creativity everywhere and anywhere. Her love of art started with her mother, who was an art dealer, and who made it a point to expose her daughter to the visual arts and music. An accomplished flute player, Dixon majored in art at Furman University and graduated in 2015. While at Furman, she was introduced to horsehair raku, which is her favorite firing technique. After graduating, Dixon and her husband moved to Spartanburg, and she joined WMAC in 2015. Since then, her ceramic work has been seen in galleries in South Carolina and Georgia. Her website is chDixonPottery.com.
Founded in 2009 as a non-profit organization housed in an old church near downtown Spartanburg, WMAC is the community’s leading grassroots arts agency, providing affordable studio and gallery space. Currently, there are more 50 members, most of whom have studio space at the 20,000-foot facility. All of WMAC’s members are local and practice a wide variety of art, from traditional canvas paintings and sculptures to quilting and videography. WMAC and its members are supportive of new and emerging artists. In addition, there are continuous exhibits, workshops, tours, open studios, and a gift shop stocked with only locally made art.
The Co-op is located at 578 West Main in Spartanburg. Normal Business hours are TUE-FRI, 10-6 and SAT 10-4. For more information please visit http://www.westmainartists.org and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/westmaincoop/