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One way or a mother

While the challenges of mother-daughter relationships have been well documented in books such as "Mommie Dearest" and movies such as "Black Swan," curator Milly Cardoso longed to see the subject tackled in the form of an art exhibition.

"I really wanted to explore these relationships, these memories about growing up with a mother who was not a typical mom," she says.

On Saturday, the resulting 10-artist exhibition, "Rip Her to Shreds," will open at the Projects in Fort Lauderdale's F.A.T. Village during the monthly Art Walk. The show explores mother-daughter relationships and their inherent frustrations, battles and bonds. Cardoso says it's fitting that the exhibition shares the name of a Blondie song about a fabulous and flamboyant woman, and reveals that the title is a phrase she's used in conversations about her mother.

"Simply stated, she is an extrovert, and I am an introvert," Cardoso says. "She is very exuberant, and I am timid and awkward. Growing up, especially in my teen years, all of my friends thought my mom was so cool, and yes, she is cool. But my response was, 'Really? I want to rip her to shreds.'"

In preparation for the show, Cardoso and some of the artists discussed its theme. "It became clear that even the relationships which appear to be completely solid have trials and tribulations," she says.

The artists, Cardoso says, have taken diverse approaches to works that represent their experiences.

"Baby Steps," Jackie Tufford's work made from a walker, electrical wire and ribbon, addresses the shift in balance that occurs when a parent becomes dependent. "Medicine Ball (study)," Tina La Porta's mixed-media work containing pills and plaster, portrays a balancing act of another kind. It depicts outreached hands filled with pills as an offering. The artist, who says she grew up with a severely depressed mother, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has undergone many trial-and-error processes with prescription medications that offer temporary relief from something she describes as "nothing less than terrifying."

In "With Her, Without Her (Mom)," Donna Haynes uses found chairs, plaster, fabric and papier-mache to explores loss and disconnection. In one chair, a small female figure is curled up in a hand that rests on other plaster hands atop pillows stacked "Princess and the Pea"-style. In the opposite chair, the seat is gone and only the broken, disfigured frame remains. A figure hangs from it, clinging for dear life. "All she keeps with her are the threads from the pillows that once comforted her," Haynes says.

While Cardoso has curated shows as a gallery director at the University of Miami, "Rip Her to Shreds" is her first independently curated show. "I wanted to make it a subject that's important to me, something I knew a lot about," she says. "As for the artists who worked so hard, I'm honored they're working with me."

Colleen Dougher operates the South Florida arts blog Arterpillar.

When: F.A.T. Village Art Walk is 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept 29 (with a performance by Belaxis Bull at 8 p.m.). "Rip Her To Shreds" will also be on view from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 as part of Art Fallout (Artfallout.Blogspot.com)

Where: The Projects, 517 N.W. First Ave., Fort Lauderdale

Cost: Free

Contact: M.cardoso1@miami.edu or FatVillage.com

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