WMAC 2019 Award Winners
VIEW CATALOG HERE
A Juried Exhibition
Only original works of art produced within the past three years were accepted. Check out our 2020 competition in early 2020.
First Prize – $2.500
Given in memory of Frank P. Cyrill
Peacemaker, Hrair Balian
Second Prize – $1000
Given by Carolinas Management & Leasing, Inc.
Third Prize – $500
Given by Wendy and Bill Mayrose
Manacle of Justice
Merit Awards – $250
Vessel No. 382
Merit Awards – $100
Embrace the Fall
Wood Fired Vessel # 25
Raku Urn with carved foot and handles
West Main Artists Cooperative in Spartanburg, S.C. invites all visual artists, 18 years or older, residing in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee to apply for acceptance into our new 2020 exhibition. Details to be announced 1st Quarter 2020.
And The Winners Are…
West Main Artists Co-op Announce the Winners of its First Regional Juried Show
The first-place winner in West Main Artists Co-op’s first four-state juried art show — WMAC 2019 — is Cindy Shute of Lockhart, SC, for her oil-on-linen painting Peacemaker: Hrair Balian. She receives a cash prize of $2,500 that was given in memory of Frank P. Cyrill.
Second prize of $1,000 was taken by Gordon Dohm of Greenville, SC, for his photograph Fungi Fantasy. And, third-place of $500 was won by Tracey M. Timmons of Spartanburg, SC, for Manacle of Justice, a bracelet made of vitreous enamel, copper, silver, brass, and photography.
The seven merit awards of $100 and $250 went to Mark Flowers of Alexander, NC; Lee Sipe of Columbia, SC; Sabrina Barilone of Macon, GA; Tom Dimond of Seneca, SC; Christina Dixon of Roebuck, SC; David Stuart of North Augusta, SC; and Martha Worth of Hilton Head, SC.
WMAC 2019 opened on Saturday, Sept. 14, and will close on Saturday, Oct. 19. It was open to all adult visual artists in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Two-hundred-forty-one (241) artists from the four states applied, and 66 were admitted into the show based on the judgement of jurors Ann DerGara and Mike Vatalaro.
The winners were announced on Saturday, Sept. 21, during a reception and awards ceremony. Seventy-four (74) works of art in this exhibit are on display at the Co-op, which is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. There is no charge to see the exhibitions.
“We could not be happier with our first juried show,” President Beth Regula said. “This is something we had wanted to do for several years, and it took more than a year of planning, but it was worth it. Having a show of this magnitude and with these cash prizes establishes West Main Artists Co-op as an art agency that is leading Spartanburg in its quest to be an art Mecca in South Carolina and throughout the South. It says we have the creativity, the knowhow, the professionalism, the resources, and the desire to take the Co-op to the next level. Next year will be even better!”
“I’m so excited to be a part of WMAC’s world,” Shute said. “This first exhibition was as professionally conducted as I have ever seen. When I was told I was Best in Show, at the time, honestly, I was shocked. It’s not that I didn’t think my painting is good. As a professional artists mature, we know our good work from our less successful efforts — I think that’s a key part of being a professional. So I wasn’t surprised to have been included in the show.
“When I arrived that evening and saw the body of work I was thrilled. Virtually every piece in the exhibition is good — very good. A couple of pieces took my breath away. So, I felt particularly honored to be included. With Peacemaker, I had pushed myself into a new space with portraiture. In my early work I tended to avoid background, contextual elements, thinking at the time that the subject should convey their story a priori — that the essence of the sitter should be codified in the presentation of their likeness, and if successful, the minimalist approach would say everything that needed to be said. So this new approach for me, including symbolic elements to tell the story, was a big leap.
“I honestly feel validated,” she continued. “I wasn’t sure if the piece worked. So now I’m really charged up about this new direction, and ready to take on more portrait-stories. And I’m so very grateful to WMAC for giving me a big hug along the way!”
The Co-op is a membership-based nonprofit arts agency with about 50 members, mostly visual artists and a few performing artists. It is housed in a former Baptist church near downtown Spartanburg on West Main Street. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Co-op houses about 30 artists studios, two stages, three galleries, a printery, a ceramics studio, and the largest collection of for-sale locally made art in Spartanburg. Each month, the Co-op normally installs three exhibits by its members and guest artists.
In their jurors’ statements, DerGara said: “ I am amazed at the quality of work that was entered. I think that opening the show to additional states has made this become an important show for the region and Spartanburg. The arts are growing rapidly in the region and this show will make Spartanburg known as art venue as well as Asheville and Greenville. As the Arts grow so does the economy. WMAC produced this show and jury with professionalism and expertise.”
Vatalaro said: “The very nature of a juried exhibition celebrates a broad range of medium and imagery. I enjoyed the task of identifying works that well represented the mediums chosen, techniques accomplished and the subjects investigated. The exhibition reveals a broad selection of work which I believe demonstrate an individual vision within both conventional and experimental genres. I was very impressed by the quality and richness demonstrated in all of the mediums displayed. I hope you will find each work invites close examination and has something unique to offer.”
Peacemaker: Hrair Balian is one of many dramatic and realistic portraits in Shute’s body of work. She also does landscapes, pet sketches, and still life. The subject of her winning portrait is Hrair Balian, the director of the Conflict Resolution Program at The Carter Center in Atlanta, GA. Since 1991, Balian has worked in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the independent states emerging from the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Africa, serving in intergovernmental organizations (the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and nongovernmental organizations (International Crisis Group and others). He has worked on elections, human rights, and conflict resolution. Balian received his Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. In May 2009, the New England College awarded him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for his “lifetime commitment to the dignity, respect, and self-determination of all peoples” and for his “uncompromising effort to resolve international conflicts.”
Peacemaker depicts Balian as a younger man with a graying short beard, wearing a driving cap with his hands in the pockets of a brown overcoat and with a satchel over his shoulder. His facial expression is serious with penetrating eyes. In the background are several images, such a man covering his eyes amid destruction, and a blooming pink lily and silver urn sitting on a table covered with cloth with Middle Eastern designs.
In describing her technique, Shute said: “To achieve this vital sense of beauty, I use classical, Renaissance painting techniques. Following the Florentine school tradition of my teacher, Master Ben Long, my work is guided by the naturalistic philosophy and techniques developed in Italy starting in the 14th century. This pre-modern European tradition originated with Masters Raphael, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo, Titian, Botticelli, Lippi, and Leonardo. Their techniques have been passed down from Master to student through the centuries.
“My painting surfaces are prepared according to the traditions of the Renaissance Masters. Oil pigments and finely woven linen stretched over birch board are my preferred materials. I often use the traditional method of glazing, superimposing thin layers of semi-transparent colors to create a glassy surface. With this ancient technique, rarely used today, light seems to radiate from within the painting itself.
“In one significant way I depart from traditional techniques: I use color combinations that are modernist, or even postmodern in modeling the faces and figures. My non-traditional interpretation of color provides a highly energetic vocabulary for speaking the language of the human spirit. It is this combination of traditional techniques and the postmodern application of color that distinguishes my work.”
“This is a vast and diverse show,” Regula said. “I invite the public to come see it and to take in the talent and creativity that surrounds us here in the South. A large show such as this one, expands our appreciation for the art that is readily available to us. It makes a statement that West Main Artists Co-op is striving and succeeding at making Spartanburg THE art community in South Carolina and beyond.”
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