West Main Artists Co-Op

WMAC Members Featured in all Main Galleries Throughout August!

Seeing Big
Spartanburg Photographer to Showcase Close-up Images of Other Artists’ Work

Spartanburg professional photographer Thomas Koenig will present more than 20 large-format photographs of extreme close-up of small things or details in other artists’ creative work in his exhibit Seeing Bigat West Main Artists Co-op, Aug. 6-31.

The exhibit will be free for public viewing Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Co-op’s west Main Street location. Also, a free and public reception will be held on Thursday, Aug. 15, 5-9 p.m. during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

“The idea for this exhibit is constructed around photographic images that show arrangements that in their native physical appearance are very small and we would normally not recognize as things of visual interest,” Koenig said. “The exhibit is constructed around a series of large-scale digital prints that are paired in part with the original artwork that they were based on. These things can be objects in repetition or can be close-up looks at items that have an interesting component or texture that the human eye may not recognize as visually interesting by looking at it without magnification. By producing and displaying oversized prints of these extreme closeups, attention can be brought to the beauty and aesthetics of items, materials, textures, and arrangements that are really tiny.”

Many of the closeups that Koenig’s exhibit will display were taken from the work of other artists. To give patrons a better understanding and perspective of the exhibit, the original artwork will be displayed next to Koenig’s detailed images. “One focus of this project is to use pieces of local artists that are small in scale or have a component in technique, material or texture that is interesting on a different level if shown in large scale,” he said. “The brush stroke by a painter may show a different level of interest if shown 400 times bigger than it appears on the texture of a canvas. The ridges of a cold wax applied in layers to a surface may show color changes that are not recognizable by the human eye, but can be revealed in its beauty in a large print.“

This exhibit, which took about six months to create, was funded by a grant from Spartanburg’s Chapman Cultural Center. “As a photographer I have traveled and have taken the lens around the country to show journalistic and artistic views of the world, and this show is a departure of that,” Koenig said. “The entire project is structured around studio and macro photography.” All of the prints and some of the original artwork will be for sale while the exhibit is up.

Koenig, who has been a Co-op member since 2015, 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,” he said. “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 spend my entire professional life 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 craftsman roots in print. The Co-op has been my artistic home for more than three years, and I am proud that I can share this opportunity with fellow members.”

Contemplating the Land
Spartanburg Artist’s Landscape Exhibit Depict Georgia and the Carolinas

Spartanburg resident Carol Story’s love of nature will be on display in her solo art exhibition Contemplating the Landat West Main Artists Co-op Aug. 6-31.

The representational oil paintings of landscapes in Georgia and the Carolinas will be free for public viewing Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Also, she will have a free and public reception on Thursday, Aug. 15, 5 to 9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

“This collection of landscapes marries my enjoyment of the painting experience and my love for the out-of-doors,” the Co-op member said. “Many of these works are representative of my ramblings in Georgia, North and South Carolina — even our own Spartanburg County. Others are from travels further afield. Whether riotous color or subtlety of shadow, the variety of beauty and insights to be learned from the land, sea, and sky are like no other inspiration to me.”

Painting is a relatively new pursuit for the career teacher, writer, and community service volunteer. The Georgia native is over 70 years old and has lived in Spartanburg for nearly 40 years. As the wife of a retired cardiologist, most of her life was focused on her family of three children and now eight grandchildren. It wasn’t until her “grandmother years” that she began to take art classes and producing her representational paintings. Professionally, she was a school teacher.

“While my father headed art departments at two Georgia colleges, my genes never prompted any pursuit of art myself until a few years ago. In the past 10 years, I have taken oil painting classes at Spartanburg Art Museum and workshops with various artists, including plein air painter Jim Carson in Saluda, NC,” she said. “I have been a member of West Main Artist Co-op in Spartanburg for nearly four years and have a studio there for displaying my work. I am blessed by the encouragement of this generous community of artists and appreciate the opportunity to grow in my craft and to exhibit there.

“Being able to exhibit at the Co-op is a bucket-list ambition fulfilled,” she continued. “As members, we have such great exposure, especially for someone like me who still considers herself somewhat of a novice. I am able, not only to have a one-woman show, but to rent studio space, which displays some-20 of my own paintings all the time.

‘I have spent my life teaching something to someone: public school elementary and middle grades, Girl Scout leader, and 25-plus years leading and teaching Bible studies, Story said. “I have served on several boards in the Spartanburg community and volunteered, as well. While I love to paint and would like to paint more, it takes a back seat to my family.”

Her work is usually considered to be representational, and this exhibit is in keeping with her established style. “This work is still in my wheelhouse of representational painting, but some are a bit looser than previous work,” she said. She hopes when people see her exhibit they will find “something familiar — hopefully something that resonates with a memory, an emotion, or their own imagination — an appreciation of natural landscapes and even the natural qualities reflected in man-made creation.”

Most of the paintings of various sizes will be for sale, ranging in price $200 to $400.

“As a life-long student of the spoken and written word, it is both a joy and a challenge to represent these landscapes in a visual language by contemplating the created work of God or constructed work of man,” Story said. “Seeing first and then seeking to capture the movement of clouds, reflections on water, or a palette of colors, I strive to communicate truth and beauty to each viewer, however differently. My hope is to arouse an emotion, elicit a memory, or challenge one’s imagination.”

Paint to Print
Gaffney Artist to Exhibit Abstract Prints at Spartanburg Co-op

Gaffney artist Robin Childers will present her exhibit Paint to Printat West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg, Aug. 6-31, giving patrons a look at her prints of colorful abstracted flowers and shapes that are based on paintings and digital drawings.

The exhibit of 19 works of arts will be free for public viewing Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is invited to her reception on Thursday, Aug. 15, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

“This exhibit will be very characteristic of my work in general,” Childers said. “I use personal drawings and paintings that are developed digitally to create the screens. I hope to show how an image changes as the medium changes — that the development of the images must be translated to fit the medium by artistic choices.”

Some of the prints will be of simple irregular shapes that explore restricted color palettes on textured surfaces. Other pieces will be more complex, combining geometric patterns, organic shapes, and strong color accents. “These various prints are based on paintings and digital drawings of abstracted florals and shapes,” she said. “I love the process of making prints from my drawings and paintings. And, I have enjoyed creating a painting that develops and changes to become screen prints that can stand on their own.”

It took Childers about a year to produce this exhibit. All of the pieces will be for sale, ranging from $15 to $300.

The Gaffney native holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art (fiber arts) from Savannah College of Art and Design. As a visiting artist, she has also studied painting at Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland.  Following graduation,  she worked as a textile designer in apparel and automotive fabrics. Her design work in manufacturing has influenced her recent paintings, screen-prints, and installations.

Other work includes teaching art to children at Capitol Hills Arts Workshop in Washington, D.C., and the Jepson Center in Savannah.

Her work in mixed media was most recently included in the Fusion Mid-Atlantic at the Virginia Beach Art Center (July-August 2019). Since 2000, her work has been showcased in dozens of exhibits across the country, with a concentration in the South. Her work is included in collections held by the Target Corp., Savannah College of Art and Design, and private citizens and companies.

Childers has been a member of West Main Artists Co-op since 2012, and she has participated in many of the agency’s exhibits, such as Open Doors. “West Main is a wonderful community of artists of all backgrounds,” she said. “We can learn from each other on different media.”

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.

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/