New exhibition at Orlando Museum of Art explores the essence of motherhood
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New exhibition at Orlando Museum of Art explores the essence of motherhood
Titus Kaphar, Analogous Colors, 2021, archival inkjet on aluminum panel, edition 27/40, 22 x 22 ¼ in. (23 ½ x 24 x 2 ½ in. framed) Purchased with funds provided by Council of 101, 2023.03 © 2021 Titus Kaphar.

ORLANDO, FLA.- Motherhood has been immortalized in art, embodying a universal figure transcending diverse cultures and eras. The archetype of the mother, depicted as an art object, serves as a reflection of societal values, beliefs, and norms of the time period it hails from, carrying the profound psychological and cultural legacy of past representations.

a Mother, Possibly, hosted by the Orlando Museum of Art, delves into this enduring theme, portraying the Mother as the quintessential nurturer - underscoring her role as the giver of life and protector, even amidst challenging circumstances.

Drawing inspiration from the German art historian Aby Warburg, the aim is to visually map the migration and transformation of symbols across cultures and historical periods. By adopting a Warburgian methodology and partially curating in a salon style, this exhibition presents an array of entry points for understanding the archetype of the Mother.

Long predating Christianity, representations of mothers in art symbolized fertility, creation, and a deep reverence for Mother Earth. Later, Christian Art significantly shaped society's perception of motherhood with the maternal ideal epitomized by Mary, perpetuating idealized maternal images through the ages. The 20th century witnessed a transformative shift in art, as artists began portraying mothers in a more realistic and gritty manner. Female artists addressed maternal issues through powerful depictions of daily routines and struggles, showcasing communities of women caring for one another.

This exhibition will bring together a group of eclectic artists whose works feature the representation of mothers, motherhood,the possibility of motherhood and the notion of fertility. Throughout a plethora of mediums and across many time periods, from traditional painting, African art, Art from the Ancient Americas as well as contemporary art. They will feature works by Alice Neel, Titus Kaphar, Louise Bourgeois, Rockwell Kent, Nina Surel, Francie Bishop Good, Peggy Levison Nolan, the Cabal Collection of Ancient American earthenware, and many others.

The works featured in this exhibition are a combination of pieces from OMA’s permanent collection, long-term loans as well as temporary loans from prestigious Florida-based collections. Lenders to this exhibition include the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation, Collection of Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, Florida, and the Collection of William D. and Norma Canelas Roth.

Visitors are encouraged to navigate the exhibition, considering their own expectations, reflecting on both familiar and challenging images, and contemplating what might be missing, exploring the connections between the artworks on display and relating them to broader contexts outside the museum.

This captivating exploration of motherhood through art opens to the public on Friday, October 20, 2023, and will be on view until May of 2024.

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