Feature Articles

August 2013

Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, SC, Offers Collection of Ben Nixon and His Siblings

Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, SC, is presenting Plates to Pixels: The Nixon Photograph Collection: 1860-2011, on view through Aug. 31, 2013, and Siblings, featuring works by Ben Nixon, his brother John Nixon of Asheville, NC, and his stepsister Page Davis of Spartanburg, on view from Aug. 1 - 31, 2013. A reception will be held on Aug. 1, from 5-9pm.

Plates to Pixels is an exhibit of select photographs taken from Spartanburg native Ben Nixon’s own extensive collection. It is a unique perspective on the history of photography, dating from the 1860s, when photos were painstakingly made with glass plates coated in various chemical concoctions, to today, when most photos are digitally taken with smart phones. Most of the 60-plus photos in the exhibition were taken by noted professional photographers.

Among the photographers who have work in this exhibit are Brit Samuel Bourne, Frenchmen Jacques Henri Lartique and Elliot Erwitt, and Americans Edward Curtis, Jerry Uelsmann, and Ansel Adams. Nixon, a fine art photographer who is currently relocating from San Francisco to Asheville, started collecting in 2003. The exhibit spans the early history of photography from the 1860s to the present day. It includes examples of most printing processes used throughout the medium: tintype, albumen, photogravure, platinum, silver gelatin, c-print, and pigment.

“This is a personal collection,” Nixon said. “But it is also very historical. It traces the different photographic techniques and processes from the early days when they smeared photosensitive chemicals on glass plates to today, when a digital photo can go viral within a few minutes. And each example is a work of art, produced by some of the most famous photographers in the world.”

In addition to the Plates to Pixels exhibit, a second exhibit will also be in place during this time: Siblings. Nixon is one of three creative siblings. His brother John of Asheville is a collage artist, and his stepsister Page Davis of Spartanburg paints in acrylics and draws. All of the siblings are the children of George Nixon, owner of Allegra Printing, of the long-standing commercial printers in the Upstate.

“I feel very honored to have the opportunity,” Nixon said. “To show this collection for the first time in my hometown is a real treat. But to have the additional privilege of showing my own work and the work of my brother and sister is outstanding. It’s a good feeling to share your creative self with others and to know that it is wanted and appreciated.”

During the course of the exhibit, several special events are planned including:

On Thursday, Aug. 15 (ArtWalk), there will be second public reception, from 5-9pm, with Nixon lecturing at 6:30pm.

On Friday, Aug. 16, a Lunch & Learn lecture will be presented, starting at noon.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings or call the Museum at 864/542-2787.

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