SPARTANBURG — For the first time in more than 10 years, the South Carolina WaterMedia Society’s annual Traveling Exhibit will come to Spartanburg in September 2017 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 Anderson (Blue House). More than $8,000 in prize money was awarded in the 2016 competition. The Best of Show winner was titled The Hands of a Fisherman by Lynda English of Florence. This is the 2016 exhibit that tours the state from the fall of 2016 to the fall 2017.
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 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.
“We are so honored to host the WaterMedia Exhibit this year,” WMAC President Beth Regula said. “We are especially excited that this is an opportunity for people from outside of Spartanburg to visit our gallery and community. The work this year is absolutely wonderful in its diversity of styles and content. Just within the five Upstate winners, you have equestrian subject matter, a nude, an abstract, a nonrepresentational, and impressionism. Those are just the ones from this region: There are 25 more works of art to be seen in this collection. If you have any appreciation at all for art, you must see this exhibit while you can.”
The 2016 exhibit was juried by Holmes of Montreal. He is author of The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location (2014) and the instructor for two online classes in location sketching. Since 2009, he has been a correspondent with urbansketchers.org. Additionally, he served as a board member and volunteer editor. Holmes was elected to the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor in 2016, recently winning their Sloan Award (2016) and CSPWC Second Prize Award (2017). He graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s in fine art from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta. During his 15-year career, he has been as an art director and concept artist for various studios, including Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Disney. He has worked on games such as Dragon Age Inquisition, Neverwinter Nights, and Baldur’s Gate, specializing in characters/costumes and fantasy-historical environmental design. His second art book Designing Creatures and Characters: How to Build an Artist’s Portfolio for Video Games, Film, Animation and More was released in October of 2016.
“There is a tremendous amount of raw talent, invested effort, and earned experience laid out in front of me,” Holmes said about the South Carolina artists. “It’s inspiring to see the range of ideas on display. Every artist has their own media and techniques, and the subjects they find worthy of immortalizing. With each one I get a new jolt of excitement. Having to look seriously at all the work, to try and understand the artist’s intent, and to deduce the steps in the creation, it’s been like a visit to a world class museum.”
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.
WMAC is the only studio art co-op in Spartanburg County and art is produced and on display throughout the 20,000 square foot building, which is a former church. The exhibitions, workshops, performances, and educational opportunities, along with artists’ studios, subsist in the creation of a unique environment, a one-of-a-kind facility that houses like-minded individuals who share a common creative consciousness. The nonprofit organization has 32 studios and more than 50 member artists.
Other South Carolina cities and counties that are hosting this exhibit include Marion County, Sumter, Hartsville, North Charleston, Lancaster, and Aiken. The travel arrangements are being managed by the SC State Museum.
There is no cost to see this exhibit, and it is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. WMAC is located at 578 West Main Street, Spartanburg, SC. For more information, please call (864) 804-6501.