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            WEST MAIN ARTISTS CO-OP        



Seven Photographers Contribute to Photo Exhibit in Spartanburg

Seven local photographers will come together at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg to display their collective works in the exhibition “Click,” which will run Tuesday, Oct. 16, through Saturday, Nov. 11, 2018.

The artistic photographers are John Lever, Dave Sawyer, Tom Lowrimore, Patty Wright, Chuck Reback, Thomas Koenig, and Pete Harding. The public can view this extensive exhibit Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at no charge. The opening and public reception will be Thursday, Oct. 18, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

“This will undoubtedly be one of West Main Artists Co-op’s most accessible exhibits,” Curator and watercolorist Dwight Rose said. “Unlike oil or watercolor or sculpture, this art is more directly linked to reality, and a lot of people relate to photography better than traditional art. It often reflects the world in ways we didn’t notice -- until a photographer with a critical and artistic eye captures the moment and presents it to us. I am always surprised at what messages a photographer can send with his or her click of a camera.”

This exhibit will be very eclectic with a wide variety of photographs, depicting many different views on the world.

Koenig 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. 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 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. 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 spent my entire professional life behind the camera,” he said. “I became a member of the West Main Artist Co-op to explore creative collaborations and to go back to my craftsmen roots in print.” Both Koenig and his company can be found on Facebook.

“My photographic interests are eclectic and opportunistic,” Reback said. “Inspired by the world around me, I photograph anything from an abstract of a single leaf to a scenic vista to an industrial landscape. Over the years, my style has evolved from a literal depiction of the subject to a more personal interpretation – encouraging the viewer to experience the moment as I did.”

Reback was born in New York City and reared in southeastern Massachusetts. After attending college in Philadelphia, he moved to Boston and began a career in banking and finance. In 1996, he and his wife, Melissa, moved to Spartanburg, where they have lived ever since. A few years later, he earned a doctorate degree in economics from Clemson University and began a second career as a college professor. In late 2016, he retired from teaching in order to spend more time with family, traveling, and pursuing his lifelong interest in photography. He joined WMAC in early 2017. To see samples of Reback’s work, please visit online: RebackPhotography.com.

“The inspiration for my photography comes from my desire to share my views of my travels and of the natural world,” Lever said. “Whether this takes form as a snow covered mountain, a tropical island or a bird in flight, the theme is the same: connect the viewer with my personal view of the world. Over the past few years, a big part of my photography has been while sailing with my brother and sister-in-law. This has taken me to parts of the world that I might not easily get to and affords me a unique platform to see these places. Another major influence on my photography has been travel to the iconic parks of the American West – Yosemite, Sequoia, Banff, etc. To a person who spent his formative years on flat ground, the mountains hold a special feeling for me. One final influence I will mention: birds, and especially hummingbirds. So visually appealing and so hard to see – they are a natural challenge to photograph.”

Lever has been an avid photographer since the days of film photography. He has augmented key skills and aesthetics learned at Tulane University, the Spartanburg Photographic Guild, and Carolina Nature Photographer’s Association with extensive reading and experimentation. He joined West Main Artists Co-op in 2017.

With no formal art education or training but having always appreciated photography and ceramics, Sawyer began his own work in clay in 2008 with classes at a local artisan studio and followed with photography. He continued exploring both artistic mediums, and, after retiring and moving to South Carolina, he continues to grow and expand his artistic experience. “My work includes art pottery, decorative ceramic wall art, and photographic images,” Sawyer said. “My inspiration comes from the world around us and reflects my love of history and God’s great gift of nature. My photographic images show what we may or may not see around us: our environments, both natural and man-made, as well as who we are, were, and perhaps, want to be. Some present a realistic vision while others a more artistic interpretation.”

Sawyer was born in a small Kansas farm town and raised in Southern California. He graduated from California Polytechnic University at Pomona with a degree in Urban Planning and began a 30-plus-year career in city planning, which took him from the sandy beaches and deserts of Southern California to the rugged coast and mountains of Washington state. Today, he is an active member in the leadership of West Main Artists Co-op, having a seat on the Management Board and heading the Development Committee. His most recent solo exhibit was at West Main Artists Co-op, where he displayed a collection of his ceramics. Sawyer’s website is DRS23.com.

Truly a product of South Carolina, Lowrimore has lived all over the Palmetto state. Educated at Wofford College, Duke University, and the University of South Carolina, he spent his working life managing information technology for public libraries. In retirement he returned to photography, which was an early love. His first camera was bought with Bounty paper towel labels and $1.95 for shipping.

Lowrimore quoted Aristotle: ‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things but their inward significance.’ And on one method for disclosing the inward significance of things, he quoted the painter Mondrian: ‘I wish to approach truth as closely as is possible, and therefore I abstract everything until I arrive at the fundamental quality of objects.’ “Take away dimensionality; take away color; choose a point of focus; impose your own perspective and see things in a new way,” Lowrimore said. “A leaf becomes a triangle; grains of gray become flesh and bone; a concrete wall becomes a spiritual barrier between old and new. As Thoreau said, ‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.’”

“I am a traveler, a person that wants to see it all,” Wright said. “I love nothing more than to experience the end of the day with sunset cruising! I look to capture the interesting, the unexplored and feel the silence as photography inspires me to look at the world around me and to see through my lens. Being influenced by light painters, like Andrew Kincaid and especially Andrew Wyeth, I wanted to photograph the same way. I love the light; I listen to the silence; and I create with excitement. I love to photograph utter realism in the silent world of abandoned barns, rivers and trees, to old things that have contrast and shadows. When I am composing an image, I look for the shadows the light offers and focus on them as it is very spiritual for me. My art is me, it is what I am and what I intend to be. Through my eyes you can see my weaknesses and enjoy my strengths. Not perfect but you can see where I have been and where I am going. I am and will always be a work in progress from beginning to end and never to finish; I am learning and absorbing all that I can. And in the end I want to create art because it makes me feel good. Without the use of Photoshop it is an amazing feeling to capture the beauty in what I see with the techniques to achieve it. I feel the joy, the passion and feeling that I am right where I am supposed to be!”

Wright was born on a military base in Ft Hood, Texas in 1955. Raised as a military brat in Europe, she traveled the world. Starting at a young age, Wright’s love of travel and creative eye lead her into the world of photography, and the desire to capture the emotions we experience within the world. Her work has created collectors throughout North and South Carolina, along the East Coast, Utah, Oregon, Washington DC, and in Costa Rica. As an award-winning photographer and writer her work is shown in the galleries of West Main Artists Co-op, Spartanburg County Library Gallery, Gallery East, Tryon Arts and Crafts, Carri Bass Studio, Federal Building in Spartanburg along with the Spartanburg Tax office, Oregon and Washington DC, along with a selection of printed newspapers and magazines. She and her business -- Light Endeavors -- can found on Facebook.

“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,” Harding said. “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 there. This is the inspiration for my photography: the desire to bring all the splendor and majesty of nature back from wherever I travel. I aspire to capture nature in unique ways that will lead the viewer into a world of nature that they may not have experienced before. All of my photographs are taken digitally and are minimally edited, as I strive to bring nature to the viewer as it really is.”

Harding was born and reared in Leicester, England. He attended Countesthorpe College, a very progressive high school, and then pursued a degree in Electrical Engineering at Leicester Polytechnic and went on to a 35-year career with a US company. He moved to Canton, Ohio in 1985, moving to Spartanburg 10 years later. Following retirement, he went back to his love of nature photography. He is currently a member of the Carolina Nature Photographer’s Association and pursues all opportunities for learning and improving his photographic techniques and knowledge that come along. He heads the Facilities Committee at West Main Artists Co-op.