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Mountain Grove photographer has work on display in “Ozark Women” exhibit


West Plains Council on the Arts (WPCA) is currently hosting an exhibition entitled “Ozark Women” by Mountain Grove photographer Joyce McMurtrey in the Gallery at the Center, West Plains Civic Center, from Saturday, Feb. 10-Thursday, March 14. The Gallery, on the mezzanine, is open to the public during regular Civic Center hours.

 “Joyce McMurtrey’s work captures real people sharing their own stories and images with their own voices. It is also rooted in a sense of place. We learned this through her ‘King of the Ozarks’ exhibit, which delved into the lives of a special family from Hartville. Her treatment of ‘Ozark Women’ promises to be equally engaging with thought-provoking nuance and depth. I can think of no better way to honor and celebrate women and Women’s History Month,” said Kathleen Morrissey, President of WPCA.

 “I finally feel like an Ozark woman,” McMurtrey noted.

“I knew this place was different when I was in the fifth grade and came to visit from Columbia with my dad, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Missouri. My interest in grape growing stems from him, but my love of the Ozarks is due in large part to the women I’ve met since I moved here in 1976. Tough; resilient; rugged; beautiful. These are words that describe both the Ozarks and the women who make their home here. For this project, I have chosen to photograph women who have lived in the Ozarks for at least 30 years. I believe it takes that long for life and this landscape to create an Ozark woman. Ever since I saw the photography of Dorothea Lange, I’ve wanted to take pictures like that. I hope I’ve come close to that with these images of Ozark women.”

 WPCA will host a Meet the Artist reception Saturday, March 2 from 2-4 p.m., in the Gallery at the Center.

“I’ve asked five women to join me to share their stories. Included will be three women from Mountain Grove, Patsy Worrel, Sally Burd and Kathryn Satterfield,” McMurtrey said.

 All are invited to attend, meet the artist and speakers, and discuss her work. 

The exhibit is co-sponsored by the West Plains Civic Center and West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding provided by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.