West Main Artists Co-op will host its “Ceramics Invitational” exhibition of work by three noted and local potters and ceramists — Amy Goldstein-Rice, Jim Cullen, and David Zacharias -- Oct. 3-28. The exhibit will be free for public viewing Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A free and public reception will be held during the city’s monthly ArtWalk on Thursday, Oct. 19, 5-9 p.m.
“This will be one of our best exhibits this year,” Co-op Director Beth Regula said. “Spartanburg loves its pottery and ceramics, and this exhibit will present some of the best and most popular works being produced today by local artists. This is a must-see exhibit for anyone who like three dimensional art in clay. We are most honored to have these artists come together in our gallery.”
Unlike most member exhibits, the “Ceramics Invitational” includes works of art from non-members artists who were specifically invited to showcase their art because of their peer and public acclaim. This exhibit will be housed in the facility’s “Venue,” which is the largest exhibit space in the converted church. The Venue gallery was once the church’s sanctuary.
Goldstein-Rice is a clay artist in Inman, SC. She creates ceramic sculptures, figures, and animals that are whimsical, symbolic, and sometimes both. She assembles her work from hand-built and wheel-thrown forms, and adds mixed media and found objects — all of which adds to the narrative. Much of her work incorporates elements of dreams and the mysteries of nature.
“I see clay as inventive. It’s a rich medium that offers a generous and tireless play of possibilities. Clay allows expression of the symbolic and the humorous, sometimes simultaneously,” she said. “I make human and animal clay figures with an emotional stance and a humorous edge. They have to do with ideas about the dangers of domestication and the loss of the instinctual ways we relate to nature and to our own natures; challenges of ideals and relationships. These themes operate on an individual, and personal level and as a universal one; in many ways I consider them essentially feminist issues.”
After graduation from the University of Tennessee, she joined the staff at the defunct Spartanburg Arts Council as its artist-in-residents. During her years with the Arts Council, she conducted adult pottery classes, promoted the visual arts through the visiting arts program in public schools, and established the pottery studio for the Spartanburg Arts Association’s Art School. At present she continues to produce her ceramics art in the Spartanburg area. During her 38-year career, Goldstein-Rice has won numerous awards for her smoked-fired ceramics and figurative sculptures. Her ceramics have sold both nationally and abroad. She will have 10 clay pieces in this exhibit. More information about Goldstein-Rice can be found on her Facebook page.
Cullen is a well known potter living and working in Campobello, SC. He is a retired filmmaker, who started throwing pots in 1976. He is a self-taught potter who has attended numerous workshops and seminars. He has built a number of personal studios, had a retail storefront craft store, and taught classes in various shops and classrooms. Currently, he teaches at Spartanburg Art Museum Art School.
“My pots provide me a canvas, a surface on which I can paint or carve patterns, designs, or elements that convey my thoughts and feelings,” he said. “For me the making of pots is a form of meditation. Unless one has actually lifted a wall from a spinning lump of Mother Earth, does one understand the magic, the quiet, the thrill of making pots. The decorating of pots is my form of communication. Unless one has actually experienced the thought process involved with facing a blank canvas, not knowing what it is that you want to say or how to say it does one understand the satisfaction, the exhilaration, the accomplishment of making pots. My pots are an extension of me, of my life, my experience. They give me joy and relaxation. They speak to me in intimate terms, in undulations, and responses without words. I give my pots shape and form, they give me untold moments of pleasure.”
Cullen’s formal education started at the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he majored in commercial design and minored in photography. Later he studied motion picture and television production at Columbia College of Communications also in Chicago. He worked in the film and video industry for 34 years in the Chicago area before retiring to Campobello in 2003. For more information on Cullen, please visit his website: RoundHousePottery.com.
Zacharias is a retired art professor at Converse College in Spartanburg. “Most of the ceramic pieces that I produce are vessels with sculptural aspects,” he said. “I especially enjoy making lidded vessels. With lids in place, these vessels are about the outside forms, proportions, and how these forms combine and come together. Markings, textures, and glazes are used to enhance forms and surfaces. Because lids must be removed in order to view the insides or to use the vessels, the pieces become viewer interactive. Working with clay is my primary focus but I still sculpt and paint.” He plans to have six works of art in this exhibit.
Zacharias was born in 1950 in Beaver Falls, PA to a railroad civil engineer father and a secretary/housewife mother. He grew up just outside of Philadelphia, and after high school, he left home for sights unseen and ended up at Clemson University, majoring in pre-veterinary medicine. During his second year, he took two art classes that changed his life. He changed his major and transferred to the University of South Carolina and entered the Bachelor’s of Fine Arts program. Zacharias started graduate school at Carolina and completed a Master’s in Fine Art in 1979. However, for 12 years, he held blue collar jobs in construction, renovation, furniture making, cabinetry, pipe fitting, ditch digging, tiling, picture framing, and numerous other occupations. From time to time, he held part-time teaching positions at USC-Columbia, USC-Aiken and Converse College — all the while producing art on side. In 1991, he became a full-time professor of art and design at Converse and received three different awards for teaching excellence. Since 1972, he has had 25 one-person art exhibitions, more than 100 group exhibitions, and more than 70 competitive juried exhibitions.
“Finishing high school in 1968, my generation was in the midst of a changing value system, of which I was very much a part. Many were choosing vocations based on personal satisfaction, that is, studying and learning a field that would make them happy, not a field that was necessarily lucrative,” Zacharias said. “In 1979, shortly after ceasing to fight in Vietnam, the United States graduated more people with MFA degrees in visual art than artists living during the entire Renaissance. The glut of young artists left most without art-related jobs. Many young artists abandoned hope of finding a job in the arts and stopped art production entirely, finding jobs in other disciplines. After knowing that I was not a veterinarian to be, I sought a BFA to learn skills that would support my ideas, to become an artist. Getting a job in art was never a concern. Completing the MFA began from the realization that I needed more studio time, better skills and harsher criticism for my art to reach a higher level. Still, my goal was not to work in an art field but to make art and to keep making art. In my many blue collar jobs, new skills were learned that were often adapted for my art making.”
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