TAM Community Gallery hosts reception for ‘Like Mother, Like Daughter

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In “Like Mother, Like Daughter,” a variety of artists made art that examines the mother-daughter relationship. TAM is hosting an artist’s reception for the show March 15. Photos courtesy of Tacoma Art Museum

Tacoma Art Museum offers a Community Art Show Program featuring a rotation of four 11-week shows throughout the calendar year. The Community Art Show Program serves TAM’s mission of connecting people through art by providing a space for community partners to gather and share their unique artistic talents, cultures and perspectives. The program enriches TAM’s visitors’ experiences by building awareness about the vibrant arts community in our region, highlighting local talent and encouraging involvement in the arts.

The current installation, “Like Mother, Like Daughter,” is a community installation that features 22 multi-disciplinary artworks created by women in tribute to their mothers (and mothers everywhere). Our moms were jet-setters, ballerinas, writers, debutantes, scientists, pioneers, etc. Some survived wars, mental-illness, racism – their stories are as fascinating as the art they inspired. The artist-daughters in this show share visual and written stories, deeply considering the personal yet universal themes about one of the most beautiful and complex relationships – mother to daughter.

The installation opened in January, but the reception is coming up on March 15, the free Third Thursday. The reception will take place at the Cheney Classroom on TAM’s third floor. The reception runs 5-7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

This community installation has been curated by Kelly Lyles. Learn more about the artist at www.kellyspot.com.

“‘Like Mother, Like Daughter’ has grown every time we’ve shown it,” said Lyles, “from 11 up to 25 multi-cultural artists working in every media. The hard part is turning them down since many more have asked to participate. We have a great line-up of art stars who jumped at the chance: Steve Jensen, Marita Dingus, Deborah Lawrence, Nancy Warden, June Sekiguchi, Diem Chau, etc. It’s a powerful, moving show.”

The show keeps growing. There were 12 participating artists when the first version of the show appeared at Shoreline City Hall in the fall of 2016. At Magnuson Park’s gallery, the 2016 Mother’s Day version incorporated 15 artists. There were 20 in the next incarnation at ArtXchange in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and 25 at Gallery One in Ellensburg. Now a new version of the installation project is at the Tacoma Art Museum’s Community Gallery.

“Strangers have thanked me for mounting the show,” said Lyles, “Art Xchange mentioned visitors came back several times. Magnuson told us they learned to keep tissues at the desk. Even Jen Graves raved and blogged about us.”

The impetus for “Like Mother, Like Daughter” was Lyles’ realization that her own need to make work after her mother’s death is a shared one. Her own responsive piece is exhibited along with the others that she curated to form the show. She chose artists that she admires, who have stories to tell. There are many fascinating tales from these artist/daughters, who are now of an age to ponder and explore this deeply personal yet universal theme. To enhance the narrative these artworks will have their stories posted alongside – the text is as important as the visual art.

“My mother,” said Lyles, “was a debutante, model, actress, socialite, world traveler, and a ‘hostess with the mostest,’ entertaining everyone from RAF pilots to royalty. Beverlie Lyles was larger-than-life to her family, her community and beyond. The gentlemanly Spanish hospice director who spent weeks assisting her passage, knew of her history and therefore told me that it was an honor to be her caregiver. As her daughter, it wasn’t until she passed away and I found myself researching her obituary that I realized what a truly extraordinary woman she was.”

Other artists in the exhibition tell their stories visually and with accompanying text. These are a few examples:

June Sekiguchi’s mother was a resilient Japanese lady who was relocated to 1950’s Arkansas after the war. Arkansas was an alien landscape, both culturally and geographically land-locked for the only Asians in the region.

Marita Dingus’ four-foot-something mother singly raised seven sons and daughters. All seven children became successful professionals, which was a major feat in the racially divided 50s and 60s.

Maura Donnegan’s silk embroidery crosswords reference her upbringing in “the old country,” taught generation to generation in Ireland.

Elana Winsberg paints herself in her mother’s 80 coats, which her mother collected despite living in arid Palm Springs. Her mother gave up a scientific career to become a housewife. Was there is an element of camouflage or protection to her obsession?

David Francis requested inclusion in an almost all-female exhibition, and his piece is one of the most powerful. It is an assemblage piece in which a wooden box is lined with his German mother’s WWII letters. When a little cage/wheel is turned, tiny fragments of her memories fall out, echoing her Alzheimer’s disease.

Too often, in this youth culture, we dismiss seniors and overlook their fascinating histories. Our parents directly affect our lives, both environmentally and genetically. We are a reflection of the past. In viewing this installation, visitors can reflect on their own heritage – their parents’ history, struggles and triumphs. Everyone can ask themselves, “What stories will people tell about us someday?”

This show provides visual beauty, emotional resonance and a thoughtful viewing experience. Lyles chose these specific artists both for their talent and to reflect diversity. The artists are of varied heritages and working in different media.

For more information about the exhibit, visit www.tacomaartmuseum.org/explore/community-art-installations.

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