Art exhibit: Laboring

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

While the moms of America had their day last Sunday, the members of Mother Artists at Work were given a little more time to reflect on the efforts involved in having kids.

"Laboring," which comes to a close May 20 at Upper Arlington's Concourse Gallery, presents more than 20 works from members of MAW, a local group that offers networking and show opportunities for artists who are mothers. The title's reference to motherhood is obvious, but a connection between parenting and producing art is also intended.

Popping up within the show are some traditionally feminine materials and practices, as well as a few maxims that apply to both art and motherhood.

This would include Alissa Sorenson's statement, "Each stitch represents a conscious choice." Her group of knitted metal sculptures, including the new work "Cellular Mitosis," is organic, delicate and meticulous.

Monica Fillmore creates bright, fluidly random designs in marker and colored pencil in the "Missing Miles" series, comparing the process behind them to the difficult process of recognizing her kids' growing independence - of letting go and having faith.

Judy Gerdeman suggests the speed of time passing too quickly in a blurred landscape, while Kristen Marra Marek's "Friends" focuses on the feet of two little kids - notably, one of only a few images of children - to convey youth's ephemeral innocence and lack of prejudice.

Marek's other contribution, the quilt-like photo collage "Color Project 1" hangs alongside Alicia McGinty's "Baby Quilt." The work made of glass and file-marked metal reflects the artist's difficult experience while trying to conceive a child.

It's one of several pieces centered on the parts of motherhood that aren't joyful, such as Melissa Ayotte's "Abandoned," a large sculpture of needle-felted human-bird hybrids, and Sharon Dorsey's "Birth, Death, Resurrection," in which a hole in a pink bunny's gut is being filled by its offspring.

On the brighter side, there's the cheeky, glitter-flecked commentary of Cyndi Bellerose, and an invitation to play dress-up with dolls from Erina. Her "Labor of Love" is a vinyl baby toy covered head-to-toe in little plastic flowers, smaller dolls, anthropomorphized pharmaceuticals, pearled mini-grenades and other decorative doodads.

See the fruits of their labor:

Upper Arlington Concourse Gallery

Through May 20

3600 Tremont Rd., Upper Arlington