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Art explores roles of women in society

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Paintings, necklaces and metalwork by Amanda Outcalt, a nationally known artist who explores the roles of women in society, will be exhibited Nov. 1-19 at Slippery Rock University's Martha Gault Art Gallery.

"It is an important exhibition," said Sean Macmillan, SRU assistant professor of art. "One of my goals is to display work from all over the country to expose students and the community to the biggest variety or art possible. The nice thing about her is she is an artist who crosses disciplines. She is able to tie two very different disciplines into her body of work."

Outcalt, based in Norfolk, Va., said her paintings and metalwork "examine and embrace the changing roles of women today." She in interested in the tension some women feel between traditional roles such as motherhood and career independence.

"Both my paintings and metalwork reveal the conflict I feel about fulfilling traditional feminine roles while seeking my own independence," she said. "Sometimes I see my paintings as a celebration of finding magic within the mundane, of being happy with the ordinary. At other times, my work reads to me as a commentary on the role a woman is expected to play.

She said she uses the goldfish in many of her paintings to symbolize the conflict. "A goldfish traditionally represents abundance, happiness and good fortune," she said. "However, it can also be a symbol of entrapment."

Outcalt said her jewelry captures the diverse roles of women. "I am especially interested in my changing ideas about womanhood - family, body image, health issues, love, building a career and a life for oneself and uncertainty about the future," she said.

Outcalt has exhibited her work around the U.S. She received her bachelor's degree in fine arts from East Carolina University, where she graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average. She was recently profiled in The Virginia Pilot.