Flagstaff Feminist Art Studio
The impetus behind feminist art is to transform pressing social and environmental issues into hopeful, solution-based educational content that drives action and positive change. Currently led by artist Rhonda Urdang, Flagstaff Feminist Art Studio engages where there's a pressing need for awareness and hope, when public engagement and good timing can make all the difference, so that knowledge can truly be the spark that moves people to act. FFAS is committed to building upon the Black and Brown Lives Matter movement by amplifying cross-cultural voices through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Art activism is especially important these 100 days before the 2020 Presidential Election on November 3rd -- when the US Postal Service is being dismantled, sabotaged and suppression of mail-in ballots are of national concern. The National, nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. 1.866. OUR.VOTE.
My work concerns itself with the collective unconscious. As a feminist artist living and working at 7,000 feet near the sacred San Francisco Peaks in Northern Arizona, icons are very much a part of my daily life. The revered sciences of antiquity were recorded in secular and religious symbols that sum up certain esoteric principles and therefore form layers of fabrications and enigmatic language. Most cryptograms condense a multitude of meanings into one entity and can be interpreted in a cosmic or human sense. Obscure dreams or nightmares of past, present, and beyond often have no key and can be arduous to unravel. More recently, I've explored the aristocracy, multi-ethnic, mixed race, Afropunk identities of London & Paris and racial dynamics in intersectional modern culture -- in a subconscious effort to bring about reparative justice and collective healing. I'm interested in making contemporary art that challenges the narrative. I want to discover how art can be used to envision new forms of race and representation freed from the bounds of historic racial constraints. The feminist art movement has argued that re-appropriation, re-signification, or reclamation is a cross-cultural process by which marginalized individuals can reclaim artifacts or images that were previously used in a disparaging manner -- and uplift them in a way that brings about socio-economic empowerment for under-represented womxn in the arts. 10/26/2020
RHONDA URDANG (nee Thomas, US, b. NE) has been making and exhibiting her work since 1970. She has had a varied and interesting career; she has worked as a type setter, museum gallery attendant, apprentice dot etcher, and journeyman color separation artist on high-fashion catalogs in the graphic arts industry in Omaha and Phoenix. Since leaving academia, the patriarchy, and pseudoscience behind (some things are folktales or misbelief), her ingenuity has flourished. Her visionary artwork responds to historical and world events, when painting and the female artist are still being diminished, silenced, marginalized, and erased. Human, civil, and worker's rights have been important social issues for her early on. She gains visual pleasure from unraveling the feminine mystique while peeling away layers of buried eidetic memory in her innovative art practice. The loveliness of the moon has inspired all of humankind since the beginning of time -- especially the magical night sky which rhapsodizes our stellar sisterhood. The artist is somewhat more herself in her sleep when her body is in a state of slumber when hybrid images and illusions are formed. She has lived in Northern Arizona for 3 decades. Her work is informed by the people, place, and color palette of her surroundings and by her personal life experiences of violation, loss, grief, hardship, poverty, assault, oppression; arising from what remained of the char. Some womyn are lost in the fire while others are built from it. The struggles and joys along the way are meant to shape you for your purpose.