‘Beyond Labels’ by Virmarie DePoyster at William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery-ASC

A collection of stunning new portraits by Puerto Rican artist Virmarie DePoyster will be publicly shown for the first time at The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC).

Virmarie DePoyster is a bilingual, Puerto Rican artist interested in utilizing art to bring communities together. In this portrait exhibition, she explores how in today's world -- a melting pot -- the labels we assign each other have the power to either divide or connect us. Rather than focusing on the boundaries these labels can create, DePoyster's goal with these works is to inspire a sense of community as each subject's intrinsic beauty is illustrated. Her 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.

The series of 17 pastel portraits — of people across races, genders, and backgrounds — explores identity and the preconceptions that are placed on people, and how those people see themselves.

Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally in numerous group and solo exhibitions. In 2015, her solo exhibition “Revelation” debuted at the Embassy of the United States of America in Rome, Italy. In 2013, at the Arkansas Pastel Society National Exhibition, juror Richard McKinley awarded her piece, Still in Love 6, first place and her portrait, Diagnosis = Ovarian Cancer, was awarded Honorable Mention at the 50th Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center. Furthermore, her piece, Hay Field Glow, was awarded the Purchase Award from the Arkansas Arts Council and toured throughout Arkansas as part of the 2008 Small Works on Paper Exhibit.

DePoyster's paintings are included in private and public collections internationally and throughout the United States. Currently, she lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband, David and they look forward to visits from their adult children, Grant and Anna.

“Beyond Labels” is on view in the William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. For more information about the exhibition, visit asc701.org. For more information about DePoyster, visit virmarie.com.