My 2011 Fulbright fellowship pioneered the first synthesis of repoussé metalwork and contemporary painting. As I studied with Nepal’s finest living historic masters of five hundred year old lineage, my works are singularly unique. They embody an exploration in which eastern and western material practices and cultural paradigms are meaningfully integrated, explored, and deployed in the service of transcultural bridging. I explore this unique congress of materials and its expressive potential in my new series “Ardens Mundi” (Burning Worlds)—a series of large tondi in which I investigate issues of climate change, cultural fragmentation, and social dislocation. Believing that the powerful and expressive potential of indigenous ways of seeing and knowing can be effectively harnessed to contemporary art practice, my work endeavors to engage the viewer on a visceral level, accelerating meaningful apprehension of climate degradation and cultural dislocation to increase awareness of the interrelationship of environmental and cultural preservation.
My work is an exploration of philosophical and cultural synthesis in which eastern and western iconographies and cultural paradigms are meaningfully integrated, bringing together disparate materials, traditional and contemporary aesthetics, and symbolic language. My selection and application of materials are reflective of the universality of physical and cultural forces in opposition and integration. My belief is that process serves content, the body responding to emotional and psychological states of being; those energies and states are evidenced and amplified in the materiality of the work. My 2011 Fulbright Fellowship pioneered and established the first synthesis of repoussé metalwork and contemporary painting; I continue to explore this unique congress of materials and its unlimited expressive potential in my new series Ardens Mundi (Burning Worlds)—a series of large tondi, a format favored during the Renaissance—to create portals evocative of the transmutational “worlds” of global warming, cultural fragmentation, and social dislocation.
For the past decade Drdak’s work has employed the unique synthesis of repoussé metalwork and painting. This congress of materials—the first of its kind—was pioneered by Drdak and definitively established during her 2011 Fulbright research fellowship to Nepal where she studied with the finest living masters of this elite practice; the grandsons of the famed Kuber Singh Shakya of Patan, Nepal. Drdak is the first and only artist to date working with this material synthesis. Drdak travels widely in pursuit of her visions; her research has taken her to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, India, Nepal and the Himalayas; Drdak’s work references universal paradigms of mythic archetypes--both ancient and contemporary forces converge in her work. A graduate of the both the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia-- she is the recipient of numerous honors, including the 2011-2012 U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for Nepal. Drdak has received personal support from H. F. Lenfest and Eugene V. Thaw for Lung-Ta, an interdisciplinary collaborative with international composer Dr. Andrea Clearfield inspired by the Tibetan Kingdom of Lo in the Nepalese Himalayas; Lung-Ta premiered at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2009 and the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel in May, 2012. Her work is found in numerous public, private, and university collections within the US and abroad, among them art collectors Berthe and John Ford, Shelley and Donald Rubin (The Rubin Museum of Art), Lynda and Stuart Resnick, Emir and Sheikha Mozah of Qatar, the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, and Yad Va Shem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. Her exhibition history includes numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, international arts festivals, and museum and academic lecture venues by invitation. She has been the feature of media and print, including 6ABC News and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She had several published works to her credit, including the Asian international arts and cultural magazine, Marg, as well as peer review journals. Her work currently hangs in the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in Kathmandu where it will remain until 2022. Recent venues include PAFA in “Downriver in the Multiverse.” Drdak is recent past President of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and currently Advisor to the Board. Drdak is represented by Independent Art Consultants in the United States and Europe, and Asia.