West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg will host the art exhibition “New Creations” Jan. 2-Feb. 2, 2019 to showcase the creative work of its seven newest members. It will be open and free for public viewing Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The seven presenting artists will be photographer Pete Harding, glass artist Richard Debus, ceramist Patrick Henry, painter Andy Donnan, glass artist Judy Martin, painter Roderice Cardell “TheMadddArtist,” and leather artist Dewi Maya. A public and free reception for this exhibit will be held on Thursday, Jan. 17, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.
“This is a most-important exhibit for the Co-op,” Chair Beth Regula said. “This is the opportunity for our newest members and their work to be introduced to the community and for the community to see what is new at the Co-op. This year, the exhibit is especially nice because of the diversity of the work. We have two painters, two glass artists, a ceramist, a photographer, and a leather artist. Each one of these artists had to apply to be a member at the Co-op, which included submitting samples of their work for consideration. These artists are at different stages of their artistic careers, but each has the quality and creativity that we look for at the Co-op. I encourage everyone to see this exhibit and get to know them and their work.”
Each of the artists were asked to comment on what inspires them, and their responses follow:
Harding said: “Growing up in England, my mother would take me for walks across the local fields and tell me about all of the wild flowers, birds, insects, and wildlife we would chance upon. I marveled at the wonders that might be found on a blade of grass or under a petal or leaf, and as I grew up and began to travel and hike across the UK I fell in love with the majestic landscapes. This is the inspiration for my photography, the desire to bring all the splendor and majesty of nature back from wherever I travel.”
Richard (Debus) has chosen fused glass as his favorite medium. He enjoys mixing glass colors, a little unbalanced and sometimes against the norm. Making plates, platters, and bowls, he describes them as "Color Makes Eating Fun." Richard has always liked art, starting at a young age watching his grandmother make mosaics using seeds and small pieces of tile. His hobby of stained glass kept him busy for 40 years while working for Ma Bell (Bell Telephone Company), and now enjoys fused glass since retiring in 2012.
Henry said: “I am moved to make things that share harmony and humor. The classical ceramics of ancient Greece and Asia have a timeless balance that guides me to find harmony in my own work. And I want to have fun! There is a playfulness to much of my work, although I’m quite serious about getting to the smile. Good humor often sits atop something severe, asking us to pause and think beyond the laughter. And harmony would not exist without discord. Those are my guides to making.”
Donnan said: “I continually find differences in my style an adventure. The chance to escape the real world and to fall into my painting is a gift that I want to share with everyone. My subject matter is as varied as my color palette, and I hope some of my work speaks to you. I am lucky to show with such a diverse group of talented and supportive artists.”
Martin said: “The inspiration for my work comes from colors, water, sounds and nature in general. Almost anything that strikes me at the time that makes me smile, relax, and think. A rusted steel beam, a tombstone, and a building have inspired me. Thinking of what I can do with that image and putting it into glass is my real inspiration for my work.” Examples of her work can be found on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fusingfun/.
Cardell said: “I believe everything is connected and everything is art. I usually begin a new painting with random brush strokes of color, or I sling paint onto the canvas to create violent and uncontrolled responses to the music. The work’s unpredictability and intuitively create a responsibility to the rhythm of the music and emotional connection I have with the content of the music. I connect sound to emotion, and I see colors when I hear the music. The music gives me a sense of direction when I create. Nothing is ever planned! I guess it takes the fun out of creating. Most of my most recent work has been influenced by taking a big risk and finding new combinations that I had not done before. It excites me to see my experiments come alive. Sometimes I think my paintings have a mind of their own. The way they speak to me while I meditate. I listen and the vibrations of the music in the room help me connect to my abilities and allow me to surrender to the canvas and become one with the art. As a musician, everything I create is full circle. When I create, life makes way more sense.”
Maya said: “Good work in my opinion is art that does not imitate the work of others. Good material and leather selection also support the beauty of a work of art. I am learning to be better and more honest in my art. Thank you for appreciating my creativity.”
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.