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Artists challenge definitions of a ‘woman’s place’

BY ANGELA MATUA

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is presenting an exhibit featuring 10 female artists titled “In Situ: Women Artists in Place.”

Named after the Latin word for “in place,” the exhibit, featuring emerging and established artists who work and/or live in the tri-state area, engages notions of a “woman’s place.”

The artists grapple with this definition using a number of mediums including traditional oil-on-canvas paintings to found object installations.

Margaret Vendryes, the curator for the exhibit and a participant in New York’s art scene for more than 25 years, said she chose the theme of this exhibit to celebrate women’s history month. The exhibit questions the belief that women should occupy a gender-specific physical or psychological space.

“Many cultures, ours included, continue to believe that women have a particular ‘place’ where they belong,” said Vendryes. “Women artists challenge that by being individuals who create their own place and many are off that traditional grid that was once considered ‘right.’”

Vendryes was familiar with each artist’s work previously through her job as a fine arts professor at York College and her experience as an artist participating in group art shows.

Vendryes said these artists are role models and she hopes that the works displayed at the Miller Gallery, where the art is being showcased, inspires visitors.

“These women are contributors to the fabric of New York City and they are a credit to their profession and their gender,” Vendryes said. “I want visitors to be inspired and encouraged to aim high personally and professionally. They are role models and we can never have too many of their caliber.”

As the only professional fine arts exhibition space in the Jamaica community, Vendryes believes that the Miller Gallery should be used to “set a standard” and inspire other institutions to elevate their missions.

The exhibit will be on display until May 28 and people will have a chance to meet the artists on two separate occasions. The first session will take place on Friday, April 17, and the second session will take place on Friday, May 1.

For more information on the exhibit and the artists, visit jcal.org.

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