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Asian Arts & Culture Center  

The Flying Nagas, diptych right image, 2012, 71.5x36x1"
The Flying Nagas,
diptych right image, 2012


The Flying Nagas: Works by Maureen Drdak

April 4 - May 11, 2013
Asian Arts Gallery, Center for the Arts

Curatorial Statement

Maureen Drdak, a global fine artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant to do research with the atelier of Raj Kumar and Rabindra Shakya in Nepal in 2011-2012. She traveled to Nepal to actualize her "Prakriti Project," the first synthesis of contemporary painting and repoussé metal work. She studied in Lalitpur, the historical "city of fine arts" with Rabindra Shakya, grandson of Kuber Singh Shakya. Two of the inital studies for this project have been purchased by Asian art collectors Berthe and John Ford of Baltimore, and Donald Rubin, founder and CEO of the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Maureen is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Arts in Pennsylvania.

Her work at the Fulbright Commission as well as several cultural, university, and academic venues within Kathmandu was received with accolades. She was a featured speaker for the U.S. Embassy Speaker's Program. She also was interviewed by Nepal TV as well as noted Nepali magazine, newspapers, and media outlets. Her work will be included in two books as a result of her exhibition, and a film documentary is planned of the Shakya family and her relationship with them relating to her Fulbright work.

Drdak has exhibited in thirteen solo exhibitions since 2004 as well as participating in twelve group exhibitions. She has received fifteen special awards including the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design in New York, the Fulbright Artist exhibition in Nepal and Artist Residency at the University of Chicago.

Maureen Drdak's work incorporates ancient repoussé techniques transmitted from Nepali masters, rich in eastern and western iconographies and cultural paradigms, all reflected in modern compositions of depth and elegance of technique revealing spiritual dimensions.

-- John Gilmore Ford - Guest Curator

The Burning World 2, 2010
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin

Artist Statement

My work interests lie not with the transient quotidian--but with the expressive forms of the eternal. Both the dynamic and the contemplative inform my work. Indian philosophy offers elegant Sanskrit words for these conceptual complements; Prakriti and Purusha--the seen and unseen--creative force and potentiality.

Synthesis--as an essential and expanding aspect of contemporary existence--is intrinsic to my art. My work investigates those conceptual paradigms of East and West that express psychological states of contemporary being and mythic impulse, and the points of their convergence.

Over the last decade my work has been deeply inspired by the Himalayas; its summits are a powerful metaphor for physical and cultural forces in opposition and integration. My selection and application of materials and techniques are reflective of these energies in eternal congress; materials function as a sensorial threshold--I want them to be rich, sensual, and enduring.

I believe that traditional techniques can be effectively harnessed to--and preserved through--contemporary art practice. My work in this exhibition incorporates the first synthesis of repoussé metalwork and painting, the result of my privileged studies with a revered Nepali master. Four centuries of his familial legacy still speak with relevance to the present... in the words of T.S. Eliot;

"the still point of the turning world......
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance."


Asian Arts & Culture Center
Center for the Arts, Room 2037 (map)
Gallery Hours: Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (during exhibitions)

Phone: 410-704-2807




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