ANDREA MODICA: THE INTIMACY OF TIME AND SPACE

Andrea Modica is a renowned photographer based out of Philadelphia. Her works extends from landscape, still life, even baseball to famously large scale camera portraitures. Juggling between the known and the unknown by addressing a variety of themes and individuals, Andrea Modica blurs the limits of time and space while offering the audience photographs with infinite possibilities.

Andrea Modica was born in Brooklyn, New-York, and now lives in Philadelphia. She teaches photography at Drexel University & the International Center of Photography in addition to being a renowned and acclaimed photographer internationally. She first wanted to be a painter and entered the Brooklyn Museum Art School with a painting career in mind.  Fascinated by abstract expressionism since her young age, it’s at Purchase College, the State University of New-York that she took on photography classes and officially decided to swap her brushes against a camera.

Determined to be an artist ‘no matter what‘, she studied platinum printing with Yale School of Art teacher Jed Devine, already intrigued by the alternative printing processes.

Andrea Modica was primarily largely recognized for the Barbara and Treadwell series.

It is in 1986 that Andrea met Barbara and her large family of 14 children. Young, full of ambition and far from the urban environments to which she was accustomed, Andrea developed an interest for this rural family both personally and professionally. After a fifteen years relationship, the entire group became the subject of an important number of works appearing in the Treadwell & Barabra monographs. In October 2007, Barbara died of severe diabetes, leaving behind a great friendship and a generous photo registry.

Treadwell traces the life of this rural family from childhood to adulthood using the big 8×10 ” camera Modica is known for. The platinum print series, created in a editions of 20, offer a poetic and poignant reality resulting from an evolutive practice created by the intimacy developed between both the artist and her subjects.

Like the girls' school, like the halfway house, like the town Sicily, like Barbara and her family, it's a group of people that let me come back and photograph again and again. Which is what I do.

— Andrea Modica

BETWEEN TRADITION AND PHYSICALITY

Andrea Modica creates her photographs using an 8×10 camera and Kodak Tri-x films. Of a size and a considerable weight, the artist camera allows her to consider photography from a meditative angle as she can focus on precision and minutia with her subjects.

Far from being reluctant to the temporal consequences that such a device can impose, she rather embraces this slow and deliberate process and benefits from its intimate feel. 

Modica’s photographs are the result of a hand-coated platinum process method performed by herself in her darkroom studio. Using 8×10 platinum palladium print by contact, printed on transparent vellum paper or graphic layout paper, trimmed and then affixed to an 11×14 archival drawing paper, the photographs are unique, being a part of a meticulous technic used in the 19th century and guaranteeing life span of a thousand years. The hand-coated platinum process nevertheless promises rich tones, spectacular visual effect and a unique result.

Still attached to the darkroom process, Andrea Modica works for hours in solitary, she is attached to the fulfillment that comes from such a traditional method.

 

'' The camera is big and heavy and the process is slow and deliberate, permitting information to unfold before the lens. The results remain suprising and endlessly interesting to me. ''

— Andrea Modica

Caeser Fresian, Tenectomy of the long digital extension tendon, 2014. Upcoming is a book of photographs made at a horse clinic in Italy, titled Discipline Equestri.

Whatever she photographs, she also feels it. Horrified, delighted, surprised, the intensity and uncertainty required by Modica’s technical process stands out of the documentary aspect of photography. The entire narrative of the photographs is rarely precised or revealed making us wonder about possible contexts, subjects. The artist however juxtaposes beauty and meaning, tension over simplicity, sensuality on darkness creating this way a never ending dialogue between her audience and the images.

EXHIBITIONS AND DISTINCTIONS

Andrea Modica is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fullbright Scholar  and is also the recipient of the Akron Art Museum’s 2015 Knights Purchase Award which recognizes the achievements of a living artist who made or is still making major contributions in the field of photography.

Her photographs have been parts of an impressive amounts of solo and group exhibitions, especially at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts.

She’s also been featured in  many magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Newsweek and American Photo.

You can find Modica’s photographs in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the International Museum of Photography and Film at the George Eastman House, and the Bibliotheque Nationale.

Her books include Treadwell, Minor League, Barbara, Human Being, Foutain and most recently As We Wait. Her most recent monograph is a collection of portraits of Mummer Wenches, titled January 1.

'' Sometimes something is so frightening I must look at it this closely or dismiss it altogether. Sometimes it's so stunningly beautiful I feel completely left out. With either extreme, photographing makes me have to deal with it. ''

— Andrea Modica