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            WEST MAIN ARTISTS CO-OP        


Seeing BIG

Spartanburg Photographer to Showcase Close-up Images of Other Artists’ Work

Spartanburg professional photographer Thomas Koenig will present more than 20 large-format photographs of extreme close-up of small things or details in other artists’ creative work in his exhibit Seeing Big at West Main Artists Co-op, Aug. 6-31.

The exhibit will be free for public viewing Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Co-op’s west Main Street location. Also, a free and public reception will be held on Thursday, Aug. 15, 5-9 p.m. during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

“The idea for this exhibit is constructed around photographic images that show arrangements that in their native physical appearance are very small and we would normally not recognize as things of visual interest,” Koenig said. “The exhibit is constructed around a series of large-scale digital prints that are paired in part with the original artwork that they were based on. These things can be objects in repetition or can be close-up looks at items that have an interesting component or texture that the human eye may not recognize as visually interesting by looking at it without magnification. By producing and displaying oversized prints of these extreme closeups, attention can be brought to the beauty and aesthetics of items, materials, textures, and arrangements that are really tiny.”

Many of the closeups that Koenig’s exhibit will display were taken from the work of other artists. To give patrons a better understanding and perspective of the exhibit, the original artwork will be displayed next to Koenig’s detailed images. “One focus of this project is to use pieces of local artists that are small in scale or have a component in technique, material or texture that is interesting on a different level if shown in large scale,” he said. “The brush stroke by a painter may show a different level of interest if shown 400 times bigger than it appears on the texture of a canvas. The ridges of a cold wax applied in layers to a surface may show color changes that are not recognizable by the human eye, but can be revealed in its beauty in a large print.“

This exhibit, which took about six months to create, was funded by a grant from Spartanburg’s Chapman Cultural Center. “As a photographer I have traveled and have taken the lens around the country to show journalistic and artistic views of the world, and this show is a departure of that,” Koenig said. “The entire project is structured around studio and macro photography.” All of the prints and some of the original artwork will be for sale while the exhibit is up.

Koenig, who has been a Co-op member since 2015, 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,” he said. “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, as the second son to Sibylla and Peter Koenig, 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. In addition, Koenig has done research in semiotics and practical semiotic applications at the University of South Carolina Graduate School as part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 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 spend my entire professional life behind the camera. But there is still another passion, graphic design and anything that relates to the media. Semiotics are cool,” he said. “I became a member of the West Main Artist Co-op to explore creative collaborations and to go back to my craftsman roots in print. The Co-op has been my artistic home for more than three years, and I am proud that I can share this opportunity with fellow members.”

West Main Artists Co-op is one of Spartanburg’s leading nonprofit arts agencies. It is a membership-based agency housed in what was once a three-story Baptist church on west Main Street. It has more than 50 members of which about 30 have studios at the venue. Among the members are painters, ceramesists, sculptures, photographers, actors, and artists who make jewelry and deal in fused glass. Each month, the Co-op hosts three art exhibitions by its members and guest artists. In addition to his members’ studios, it has two performance stages, three art galleries, a printery, a ceramics studio, and a two-room gift shop. The Co-op has the largest collection in the city and country of for-sale art made by local artists. For more information, please visit online: WestMainArtists.org.