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  • Writer's pictureWest Strand Art Gallery

PORTRAITS SHAPING MEMORY

Updated: Mar 27

April 6 - May 12, 2024


Join us for our 4th Anniversary year exhibition! Featuring paintings, mixed-media, and digital prints by artists from Kingston, Woodstock, and West Point New York. 


Opening Reception: Saturday, April 6

4:00-6:00 PM


West Strand Art Gallery is pleased to open the 2024 season with the exhibition: PORTRAITS SHAPING MEMORIES, Saturday, April 6, - Sunday, May 12.


The exhibition brings together three artists from the Hudson Valley, Vanessa J. Osmon, Amy Fenton, and Julia Santos Solomon. On view are portraits and figurative works that impart a sense of intimacy and mystery. Their paintings of friends and relatives convey narratives and shape memories of women’s personal life experiences.  


Vanessa J. Osmon, currently lives in West Point, Amy Fenton in Kingston, and Julia Santos Solomon in Woodstock. The exhibition features 21 works of art including paintings on canvass/wood panels, mixed media on paper, digital images on metal, and drawings.


Portraiture is one of the oldest genres in art history. Historically, artists have created portraits to memorialize significant figures in society. Today there is a proliferation of portraits. Most people take selfies to document their experiences and to record appearances of their friends and relatives.  In contrast, Osmon, Fenton, and Solomon create portraits that go beyond recording. Theirs is a creative process, connecting the sitter with the artist and the image with the viewer, intermingling in an intimacy of visual dialogue.


What kind of unexpected meaning and memorializing narrative can we uncover in the figures and portraits on view in this exhibition? The artists portray intimate images that hold a moment in time of their friends and relatives, such is the case with Vanessa J. Osmon’s ‘military spouse’ portraits.  She creates paintings of military spouses, women who share in a community of service to the nation. She makes their images to acknowledge that they “are seen” and their lives are significant.  Amy Fenton memorializes the lives of women practicing mysticism, performances, and religious rituals from around the world.  Julia Santos Solomon’s self-portraits and images of family members memorialize their Caribbean cultural roots and explores identity transformations related to the consequences of colonization.   


The portraits engage us psychologically imparting a sense of solitude, intimacy, and mystery. They explore myriad states of emotions, at times a sense of alienation, joy, pleasure, or anguish.


All three artists have exhibited in local galleries and/or museums in the Hudson Valley, and New York City.

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