Event DetailsDates: 11/18/2023 - 2/11/2024
1601 Rogers Avenue Fort Smith, AR
“When one door closes, another door opens,” said her mother, as she and her family were anxiously leaving Puerto Rico to be taken in by a friend in El Dorado, Arkansas, after abandonment by their father. “I would later realize exactly what she had meant by that statement and I would come to fully appreciate the tenacity and strength it took for her to find that next door,” said artist Virmarie DePoyster. The doors to DePoyster’s exhibition, Beyond Labels, at the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum are set to open on November 18th with an opening reception Friday, December 1st from 5 PM - 7 PM.
Once in America, DePoyster faced years of being labeled a foreigner, her distinctive accent and her profession as an artist often deemed frivolous. These experiences spurred her to question the influence of external labels on our self-identities. DePoyster decided to ask both friends and strangers in her community to consider being interviewed and photographed for a painting in pastels. They were each asked to bring an item or embody a persona that illustrated how they see themselves. During these interviews, DePoyster explored issues of identity and connection through in-depth conversation about the significant labeling, and mislabeling, that have affected their lives.
The pastel portraits that came from these sessions aim to illustrate the meaningful selectivity we use in
deciding which of our layers we peel back to show the world and which we keep concealed. DePoyster uses color as a technique, a tool, and a language to emphasize an overall feeling in her paintings.
Although greatly diverse - like the portrait subjects themselves - these paintings are unified by their manipulated shapes, gradation, and textures that evoke empathy and curiosity. “My hope is to inspire an
appreciation in our community for what makes each of us unique so we can learn to look beyond labels and truly see one another,” says DePoyster.
Be sure to attend Virmarie DePoyster: Beyond Labels, which runs from November 18, 2023 through February 11, 2024. DePoyster will give a free on-site artist lecture on Friday, January 19, 2024, from 5 PM - 6 PM.
Admission is always FREE at Fort Smith Regional Art Museum
* Please confirm directly with the promoter or box office to ensure event details have not changed.