According to Armenian-American artist Ferdinanda Florence,
"In both my art and my teaching, I am interested in the concept of liminal—or threshold—spaces, and how the slippery boundaries between inside and outside can act as metaphors for life’s unresolvable paradoxes. Featuring sites in my adopted city of Vallejo, CA, my paintings represent a personal exploration of loss and longing for something untenable and possibly irretrievable.
Almost all of my subjects are industrial or commercial areas, rather than private residences. They are "home" to no one, but I am drawn to them, and find in them something personal and familiar. I admire the resiliency of the architecture, beautifully proportioned, low and obstinately hugging the ground. Yet the buildings’ faces are impassive; despite welcoming awnings and occasional doorways, the buildings here deny ready access. They are difficult to place, both in time and spatially.
Vallejo itself has been cast as
Ferdinanda Florence was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Arlington, VA. She received a degree in art history and studio art at The American University in 1994, and has continued to pursue a successful professional life as a scholar, teacher, and practicing artist. She earned her Master’s degree in art history at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1998.
A second-generation Armenian-America, Ferdinanda has explored in her research the role of place in artistic expression. Her Master’s thesis detailed the link between Armenian religious rituals and church architecture. In her travel to sites in France, Italy, and Germany, she has researched the symbolism of doorway and floor decoration in Romanesque buildings. In her artwork, she uses industrial sites in her home city of Vallejo to explore issues of place on a more personal level.
Ferdinanda’s exhibitions reflect her varied interests and concerns. Her work has appeared at the Di Rosa Preserve, Napa (“All in the Family IV,” 2005); the University of San Francisco Law School (“Creative Justice: A Social Art Exhibit,” 2005); and as set decoration for a Bay Area Playwrights Festival performance at the Magic Theater, San Francisco (“As American As,” 2006). Her drawings were selected for exhibition at the next FATE Biennial Conference at the Savannah College of Art and Design in April, 2013.
2015 New Beginnings, Elisa Contemporary Art, New York, NY
Aqua Art Miami (FL), Elisa Contemporary Art, NY
2014 Ferdinanda Florence/Wynne Hayakawa, Andrea Schwartz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Altered Landscapes, Arts Benicia
2013 FATE Juried Members Exhibition, Savannah, GA
2012 Summer in South Park (Again) Andrea Schwartz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2011 Ferdinanda Florence/Wynne Hayakawa, Andrea Schwartz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Magic Theater, San Francisco, CA Artwork to accompany the performance of “As American As”
2005 All in the Family IV, Di Rosa Preserve, Napa, CA
Creative Justice: A Social Justice Art Exhibit, University of San Francisco Law School, San Francisco, CA
2011 FATE Conference, St. Louis, MO, “What’s Appreciation Got to Do with It?”
2014 Approaches to Art: A Journey in Art Education, Cognella Academic Publishing
San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
2010 Master of Fine Arts: Painting,
University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, MD
1999 Doctoral research, Western Medieval art,
1998 Master of Arts: Art History, Eastern Medieval art (Armenian)
1996 Graduate Fellowship and Teaching Assistantship,
The American University, Washington, DC
1994 Bachelor of Arts: Art History and Studio Art (Summa Cum Laude)