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Artists collaborate to produce 'transitions' exhibit on Jupiter campus

An engaging multi-media celebration of womanhood was recently on exhibit at Florida Atlantic University's John D. MacArthur Campus Library Gallery.

“Fe-male Transitions” is a contemporary exhibit by artists Diane Arrieta, an FAU alumnus, and Jackie Kern of Jupiter. The exhibit incorporates color, textures, text and interactive pieces that allow visitors to get a hands-on experience of the artists’ work.

“The theme of this show really had a very deep meaning for Diane and myself. “It could be the stages in our lives and that we’ve come to this point where we reexamining our roles as women, our lives thus far, our goals, what have we achieved and what do we still want to do,” Kern said.

The artists’ inspiration for the exhibit came from looking at their identities and childhood experiences. Arrieta and Kern have shown their work together before and decided to do so again after realizing each was working on a similar theme.

“We’re just trying to redefine who we are at this point in our lives, and I think all women come to that point where they’re at the crossroads” Kern said.

Arrieta’s work often focuses on women and children, while Kern recently has started producing material with a more personal theme.

Many of the pieces feature messages about self-esteem and self-worth, beauty ideals and acceptance. “The House that Jackie Built” contains phrases tied into self-esteem and is a piece Kern deems “autobiographical.”

“Size of Beauty” by Arrieta also focuses on beauty ideals by having a life-size silhouette of an average woman alongside a video featuring a beauty pageant from decades earlier where the beauty ideals of women differ from those of today.

“I like to violate what people think they’re going to see in an art gallery. I don’t think most people are aware of their surroundings so my work kind of forces them to look at things they don’t want to look at,” Arrieta said.

Arrieta’s work also includes an interactive piece in which a viewer can spin a wheel to determine the identity of a baby’s father. This piece parodies teen pregnancy, yet allows viewers to see it is a growing problem.

“Womanhood to me is an amazing challenge and it an amazing accomplishment … and I just think women need to celebrate all that they do. Womanhood is an amazing celebration and that women are awesome,” Kern said.

“I find it frustrating; women have to do way more,” Arrieta added.

Her frustrations are seen in the “Superhero” piece in which boldly colored illustrations of women are shown in different roles as superheroes.

Arrieta received her bachelor of fine arts degree from FAU in 1996 and became seriously focused as an artist in 2000 while doing her graduate studies at FAU. Arrieta is also the MacArthur campus gallery’s exhibition coordinator. Her work has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and other U.S. cities.

Kern, former assistant director of diversity student services for the MacArthur Campus, earned a bachelor of fine arts in painting and drawing from the State University of New York College at Purchase. Her work has been shown in New York, North Dakota and Florida.

The exhibit opened to great feedback from students in late August. Much of Arrieta and Kern’s work, including pieces from the exhibit, is also featured online at http://faumacarthurlibraryexhibit.blogspot.com/and http://www.dianearrieta.com/.




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