Mark Flowers & Kristy Higby
Paintings & Small Metals
A visit to Mark Flowers and Kristy Higby’s studio is a refreshing retreat into the mountains, but only a short drive out of the city. Up a small dirt driveway, around several curves you’ll come to a clearing with a lovely cabin and incredible views of the distant mountains. You’ll see a fire pit with outdoor seating, outdoor sculpture and old farm implements near a woodshed—it’s obvious the couple enjoy being in the outdoors. A warm welcome will make you feel right at home and the artwork—it’s well worth the drive to see!
Artwork that tells a story or has a conversation with the viewer is Mark and Kristy’s specialty. Mark focuses on paintings and mixed media wall pieces, and Kristy works in small metals, art books and documentary films. They tell stories of fascinating people, of travels, of events and allow the viewer to engage, relate, and reflect on their own connections and similar stories. Mark and Kristy were students at University of South Carolina Columbia when they met, and they have built a life together raising two (now grown) boys, teaching many, many students and creating in the studio.
Mark grew up with art. His father is a painter and noted artist in South Carolina, Tom Flowers, so it isn’t a surprise he would follow the path of artist, art teacher and mentor to other artists. Mark holds a BFA from the University of South Carolina and a MFA from Western Michigan University. While he has been a teacher of art, he has also chaired two fine arts departments and one painting department. His most recent teaching award is the Allen Zearn Distinguished Teaching Award at Mercersburg Academy.
He currently teaches at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, where he is also the gallery coordinator. Over his career he has had about 30 solo exhibitions, including the Burgin Center for the Arts in Mercersburg, PA, West Liberty College in West Virginia, the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, the Asheville Art Museum and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, MD.
Kristy has taught book arts, drawing, and digital arts since 1977 in South Carolina and most recently in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Her resume includes many exhibitions, articles and published citations, and corporate collections. Recently Kristy has been exploring metals, and it’s no surprise that a new body of work in small metals was juried into Interrupted, a National Juried Exhibition at MINT Gallery, Atlanta. In describing her materials Kristy explains “the source imagery and material come from antique copper etching plates from the 1940s and 50s. I’m fabricating the actual plates”. True to form, these small metals speak to the viewer and make a statement about our current day world events, while merging topics of historical human rights issues.
While much more could be written about Mark and Kristy, Art Connections offers you the experience of going and having a conversation with art in this beautiful setting.