Meditations on Motherhood

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by deirdre donovan

if hallmark has the commercial cornered on mother's day, a new art exhibition, inspired: an exhibition in celebration of mothers, hopes to revitalize the holiday's heart and soul.

dana diprima, the show's guiding force, says the concept evolved from her own tradition of sending annual mother's day notes to friends and family. the cards, which have always elicited a warm response, prompted an unexpected comment last year from her artist-friend jan testori-markman, who pointed out that the design was created by a male artist. testori-markman asked diprima if she might consider using her original artwork for future mother's day cards. not only was diprima deeply touched that her friend embraced her tradition, but she felt that markman's expressive artwork could take her project to the next level. over the next months, the duo collaborated on the design and layout of a new card, bringing another artist-friend, mary reilly, onboard.

as the project expanded, diprima wondered about the possibility of having an art exhibition celebrating mothers.

"i was out walking in the park one day when i just said, 'i know this great space, and i know these mom artists whom i love and who are so terrific. and i bet we could get a couple more artists and we could turn this card into a physical celebration of mothers,'" diprima recalled.

soon two other artists-alexandra avlonitis and jodi bassi markoff-joined the project and space was secured at the culture center, on columbus avenue, during mother's day weekend.

the exhibition, which will show about 20 works from each artist, is a meditation on the many faces of motherhood. avlonitis will present her painting "from what i remember," along with other expressionistic landscapes; testori-markman will feature her multi-media "global landscapes and cultural patterns;" bassi markoff, who integrates photographs, painting and words on

canvas, will include her "lost in hanoi;" and graphite-artist mary reilly will present her "be my love" and selected landscapes.

admittedly, mother's day is impossible to pin down in so many words. but diprima hopes that visitors will find an atmosphere conducive to reflection on this

holiday. and if you haven't yet bought a gift for mom, consider the artwork on display, all of which is for sale.


the culture center, 410 columbus ave. (betw. 79th and 80th streets), 212-769-1600; saturday, may 8, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and sunday, may 9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free.

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