By Randi Bjornstad

clareclass1Paula Goodbar, longtime art photographer and executive director of the Emerald Art Center, usually spends her time promoting other artists’ work, but a show of her own called “Resilience” opens Oct. 14 at the Tronson Gallery at 740 Main St. in downtown Springfield.

She’s been working on the concept for more than four years, seeking to honor “the resiliency that all women possess and to encourage support and acceptance of one another.”

“It’s all about women,” Goodbar said. “I want to celebrate the diversity and beauty that all women possess, no matter what their appearance or situation. Women always bounce back, no matter what, and this exhibit reflects that ability.”

She interviewed women for the project, asking them to write their own narratives, and eventually chose nine to be the subjects of her work. She rented the Wildish Community Theater down the block from the Emerald Art Center for a day, chose a concept for each woman’s story and photographed them, sometimes alone, sometimes together.

Goodbar said her purpose was “to have nine women from all walks of life expose the vulnerability, strength, flaws, beauty and courage that it takes to be true to one’s identity as woman.”

resiliencegroupWhether as daughters, sisters, spouses, mothers or grandmothers, “We are more than our roles in society has us play,” she said. “We are more than a female body judged by public opinion based on unrealistic expectations.”

Her career as a photographer as been instrumental in allowing her to express total honesty, Goodbar said, “where I can dream and feel free to dig deep inside to find the core of the woman that I have been and will become.”

In this show, she has the help of nine others who have allowed her to show their true selves at the same time.

An opening reception for “Resilience” will be 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 14. Regular hours at the Tronson Gallery are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

For information, call 541-600-5417.