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Wonder of Sea and Stars

Spartanburg Artist to Showcase Inspirations from the Sea and Sky

Spartanburg artist Barbie Workman will exhibit a collection of her latest works in encaustic wax at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg in March and April, giving the public a look at her surreal and non-representational inspirations from the sea and sky.

“Wonder of Sea and Stars” will have about 30 pieces and will be open for free public viewing Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. The exhibit will open with a public reception on Thursday, March 15, during the city’s monthly ArtWalk, 5-9 p.m.

“The message of my exhibit ‘Wonder of Sea and Stars’ is an invitation to the viewer to disconnect from the distractions of modern life, opening up to the beautiful mysteries and wonders of our natural world,” the artist said. “My inspiration came from observing the ocean on a daily basis while living in Florida — the power of the waters to mold the environment inspired my creativity; to share its majesty. In my childhood I enjoyed many peaceful nights of stargazing, spurring my imaginings into surreal dreams. Both of these aspects of our natural world fostered a place of peace, dreams, hope, and creativity, which taught lessons in awestruck wonder to my soul. I hope the viewers of these works are imparted similar moments of emotion along with inspiration.”

Workman’s art in encaustic wax often uses restricted color pallets, creating ebbing and flowing motion associated with water currents and fluid environments. Other pieces imply an extraterrestrial vastness filled with unknown possibilities. Viewers often characterize her compositions as soothing, surreal, and inspiring. All of the work, which was created during the past two years, will be for sale, ranging in price from $30 to $800. “Upon entering this exhibit, the viewer will see a variety of ocean-inspired encaustic works, as well as many galaxy encaustic works,” she said.

Workman began her art career after a long journey of discovering her artistic expression and talent. Her love for the art movements in fauvism, impressionism, and surrealism inspire and influence the development her own creations. With an eye for color and formation of movement through layering, she discovered the encaustic process. Her work explores the relationship between nature’s textures through the use of color values and form. “Using the mixed media encaustic process there is no limitation to movement of the composition and surreal visual feel of each individual artwork,” she said. “As shimmering replicas become frozen through studious and diverse practice, the viewer is left with a visual journey into the luminous beauty of our natural world.”

Workman has been commissioned for beach landscapes, contemporary works, and encaustic mixed media. Always seeking opportunities to give her art a home, she has donated her smaller works to various non-profit organizations. “I found my art groove at a pivotal time in my journey, and I am blessed every day to be able to live in this creative world of imaginings,” she said. “It is a passion of my life and beauty that I find overflowing into physical expressions that I am fortunate enough to share.”

Workman began her art education at the University of Central Oklahoma, then later at the University of West Florida with a focus on painting and sculpture. For a year and half, she was an artist in residence at Monroe Galleries in northeast Florida. Her encaustic mixed media work has been displayed in artisanal boutiques and small retail shops in Florida.

For more than a year, four of Workman’s seascape pieces were on display at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City as a part of Arts Council’s “Art on the Town” exhibition. She has also exhibited encaustic mixed media works at Southlight Gallery, Monroe Galleries, and Artesano Boutique all of which are in Florida. She is a native of Oklahoma, but she currently she lives in Spartanburg with her blind cat and spouse.

Upon moving to Spartanburg from Florida, Workman joined the Co-op in 2017. “I feel fortunate to be a part of this creative space that is filled with diverse talented fellow artist,” she said. “I am excited for the opportunity to display my work in this solo show.”

Workman describes her upcoming exhibit as: “The soothing colors of the sea can evoke restful auras of peace and calm, while the heavens are full of vast stars that can evoke a curiosity and wonder. Both utter curiosities to the soul for a journey of exploration to embrace its forces, rhythms, and dynamic structure. Each piece calls for exploration and is set into a visual composition using encaustic wax, found objects, 3-D sources, and various mixed media. Each composition tells a story of a moment embraced for the beauty it shared — be it a dream, a crashing wave of the sea, or stargazing the vastness of the universe.”

As an all-volunteer and nonprofit arts agency, West Main Artists Co-op is located at 567 W. Main Street Spartanburg, SC. For more information about the Co-op or “Wonder of Sea and Stars,” please visit online WestMainArtists.com.