Felicia Belair-Rigdon was born in Alexandria, Virginia where she spent her formative years in the same home attending St. Mary’s Academy and then Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School.. Upon graduation, in 1957, she traveled to Stockholm, Sweden and studied ‘reclaim’ – graphic design- at Konstfackskolan. The curriculum focused on drawing from plaster casts, objects, and dried plants in addition to lettering and product design. Returning to the U.S she attended Parsons School of Design. Classes included painting, life drawing, sculpture and graphic design. A year later she transferred to Richmond Professional Institute, a branch of William and Mary in Richmond, Virginia. It was here that her instructor, Richard Carylon, developed her talent through the interpretation of literature and art history. The artist received a BFA in Design and Communications in 1963. After graduation from RPI(now VCU) she took advanced painting classes at the Corcoran School in Washington, D.C.
For a period of 20 years she was employed as a Designer and Art Director in Washington, D.C; she worked for noted companies including The Washington Post, Weitzman, DYM & Associates Advertising and the Brown Companies.
The artist was juried into the Torpedo Factory Art Center in 1990 where she maintained a studio for 22 years receiving numerous awards through juried competitions. In 2011, she and her husband moved to Lewes, Delaware where she continues to create collage and assemblage. Delighting in experimentation, assemblage has been added to recent endeavors. Her work is in many private collections both here and in Europe.
The mixed media collage paintings by Felicia Belair-Rigdon have evolved through a concentration on collage incorporating artist-made paper. These works focus on other-worldly matters as a synergy of the artists’ early childhood experiences: the Church, the theater and the drama of the auction house.. Bringing together disparate imagery of art historical references, angels, sky divers, bones and twigs the surface is worked over with diverse materials unifying and developing a painterly approach to paper. ‘These works are shaped by a deep sense of time. . . of ideas past that are relevant to today employing classical excerpts seen through the prism of contemporary struggle’ . . .Mecklenburg.
The artist is a winner of the Open Studio Press, Exhibition- in- Print 1999, Mid Atlantic division of the New American Paintings judged by Linda Norden, curator of Contemporary Art at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum. In addition, Ann Cohen DiPietro of the Heschler Museum awarded a solo exhibition at the Graphic Eye Gallery in Port Washington, NY. The artist’s works have been shown at The Corcoran Gallery of Art , The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA, the Baltimore Museum and the Chrysler Museum, Newport News, VA.
“A compelling combination of past and present”, recent juror and New York critic Donald Kuspit remarks, “this is to me a central, contemporary and topical motif. . .which calls attention to vulnerability and mortality”. Ms. Belair-Rigdon was honored with Best In Show, Art Howard County 1993: The Howard County Arts Council by Steven Lanier of the Delaware Center For Contemporary Art. He states, “CreatorLifestories. . .subconsciously the allegorical mixed media collage challenges our sense of well being”.
Selected Venues from Solo and Juried Exhibitions:
Fast Forward: Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Hemicycle Exhibition
Virginia Museum of Fine Art:Virginia Artist’s Biennial
One Person Show: The Virginia Museum of Fine Art
The Baltimore Museum of Fine Art: Maryland Artist’s Biennial
The Chrysler Museum: The 32nd Irene Leach Memorial Exhibit, Norfolk, Virginia
Art in Embassies Program: Gambia, Africa
Peninsula Museum of Fine Art: Beaux & Eros
Cleary Minor Gallery: All on Paper, Buffalo, New York
East West Cultural Studies: National Small Works, New York, New York
The Graphic Eye Gallery: Solo Show, Long Island, New York
Visions Art Gallery: Icon Influences, Albany New York
The Collector Art Gallery: Artists & Angels, Hot Springs, Arkansas
The Rehoboth Art League: Fourth Annual Juried Exhibition
The Target Gallery: Paper, Stone, Scissors, Parts One and Three, Alexandria, Virginia
Loyola Collage: Three Women, Baltimore, Maryland
New Jersey Visual Arts Center: International, Summit, New Jersey
Salisbury State University: Primarily Paper, Salisbury, Maryland
The Target Gallery: Not To Scale, Torpedo Factoery Art Center, Alexandria, Virginia
1999 New American Painting, Open Studio Press, Exhibition-in-Print No 21.
1993 Best In Show, Art Howard County, MD
1967 Award of Distinction, Virginia Artist’s Biennial, Virginia Museum of Fine Art
1965 Award of Distinction, Virginia Artist’s Biennial, Virginia Museum of Fine Art
1993 Atheneam Regional Annual: Juror’s Award, Julia Boyd
1992 Open Exhibition Virginia, Jurors’ Award, Virginia Mecklenberg
Warren Buffet, Omaha, Nebraska
The Children’s Inn, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Brigette & Daniel Keaser, International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC
Stewart Glass, New York, New York
Richmond Hospital, Richmond, Virginia
BFA: VCU, formerly Richmond Professional Institute, Richmond, Virginia
Parsons School of Design
Konstfackskolan, Stockholm, Sweden
The Corcoran School, Advanced Painting
Pyramid Atlantic, Paper Making