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.
For the first time in more than 10 years, the South Carolina WaterMedia Society’s annual Traveling Exhibit will come to Spartanburg in September and will be on public display at West Main Artists Co-Op.
“Actually, West Main Artists Co-Op is the only gallery in Upstate South Carolina where this most-noted statewide exhibit will be displayed,” Spartanburg watercolorist Dwight Rose said. Rose, a member of the Society, was instrumental in getting Spartanburg on the tour list. “The last time the exhibit came to Spartanburg was when the old Spartanburg Art Center was on Spring Street.”
This is the WaterMedia Society’s 39th year of sponsoring this annual exhibit that juries work from watercolor artists from throughout the state and beyond. This year there were 183 entries, from which 30 winners were selected by Canadian artist Marc Taro Holmes. Five of the winners are from the Upstate and Western North Carolina. They are Diana Carnes of Pendleton (Tsunami), Patricia Cole-Ferullo of Tryon (Dark Beauty), Monique Wolfe of Greenville (Between Concerts), Lori Solymosi of Pendleton (Looking Back), and Ann Heard of Pendleton (Blue House). More than $8,000 in prize money was awarded in the 2016 competition. The Best of Show winner is titled The Hands of a Fisherman by Lynda English of Florence.
Since 1977, the South Carolina Watermedia Society has promoted the artistic and professional interests of its members as well as providing visual arts programs to the public. The Society works towards achieving its goals by making the accomplishments of its members available to a broad base of South Carolinians. SCWS, the largest statewide visual arts group, is an active presenting organization. It nurtures and promotes South Carolina artists by providing exhibition opportunities, special programs to market their original works, and educational programs.
The exhibit will open on Sept. 6 and close on Sept. 30. A private pre-opening event for donors will be held Sept. 5, and the free public reception will be held Saturday, Sept. 9, 5-8 p.m. The exhibit can be viewed Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. There is no charge to see the exhibit.
Paintings | Ceramics | Printmaking | Jewelry | Photography | Fiber Arts | Sculpture | Glass Work | and Much More!