Gallery Exhibit by Maureen Drdak Explores Ancient Symbolism

Published 01.15.2008


'Isaac, Detail From Akedah Triptych,' 2004, acrylic on wood with mineral threads, 48 inches by 48 inches by 2 inchesThe Gallery at Penn College, on the third floor of Pennsylvania College of Technology's Madigan Library, will host "Planes of Aspiration," an exhibit of paintings by Maureen Drdak, from Jan. 15 to Feb. 12.

An opening reception for the exhibit will take place Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., with a talk by the artist scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.; and Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. All exhibits are free and open to the public.

"I have an ongoing fascination with religion and culture, its origins and development," Drdak said, and her work attempts to visually express the ancient symbolic dualities that lie at the base of those origins.

Her large, dynamic works present highly polished black surfaces, crushed mineral and metal particles, and a restricted chromatic palette of reds, black and ivories.

"This trinity of colors has multicultural symbolic significance, containing within it references to life and death, good and evil, engagement, protection, and transcendence," she said. "Contradistinction between extreme condensed detail and bold directional gestures; between transparent veils of pigment and rough, dense masses of crushed minerals and metal; between skeletal and flesh forms; between animal and human; all serve as analogies for the bridging and interplay between the atavistic and the abstract sublime."

Two subjects currently are dominant in her paintings and drawings. One is the topic of the Votive, the sacrifice of the beloved son, which is the core foundational belief of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The theme is addressed in her work "The Akedah Triptych."

The second concern is the aesthetic reinterpretation of the Assyrian bas-reliefs of Ninevah, which she explores in "The Killing of Lions."

"It is my intention and my desire that the viewer experience these images as contemplative touchstones that access and amplify the "˜personal archaic' within," Drdak said. "So that "¦ the viewer is reintroduced to internal visions that speak to personal emotional and spiritual primacies, and that these visions be experienced and understood as alive and vital in the present."

Drdak is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and The University of the Arts. Her work has been the focus of invitational lectures and exhibits by noted speakers and historians.

"Planes of Aspiration" is part of the college's Current View Artist Series, which showcases contemporary artists working in a variety of media. Sponsored by the college's media arts department, it provides an opportunity to broaden and enrich the educational experience at Penn College. The Current View Artist Series includes six artists for 2007-08.

For more information about Drdak and her work, visit on the Web .

For more about this exhibit and The Gallery at Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call (570) 320-2445. For general information about the college, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free (800) 367-9222.