January 1, 004_Philadelphia, PA, 2009

by Andrea Modica

8 x 10 in Contact Platinum Print

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3,575.00 USD $5,575.00 USD $

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About The Work

“Each New Year’s Day in Philadelphia, merrymakers from across the city converge on South Philadelphia for something that at times resembles a well-choreographed parade of highly skilled performers, and at other times is more of a sprawling, shambling mob of happy, boozy, (primarily) men in costumes. These are the Philadelphia Mummers. The event is an amalgamation of cultural traditions that has evolved in working-class neighborhoods for over 300 years. Beginning as small bands of informal revelers scattered throughout the city, today’s parade includes recognized performance divisions and organized clubs that compete within those divisions. The group represented by this collection of photographs are the Wenches, a subset of the Comic division, who hew most closely to the Mummers’ anarchic, free-wheeling past. The all-male Wenches don female garb, including dresses, undergarments, purses, parasols, wigs, make-up and golden shoes, in tribute to the iconic song of Mummery, Oh, Dem Golden SIippers. The Wench tradition, and often the dresses themselves, are passed down from one generation to the next, with some groups including all the male members of a family, from young boys to great grandfathers.

Like so many clubs and teams, this group embodies a male mystique, a paradox of inclusion and exclusion that fueled my attention beyond the aesthetics of the parade. As a woman and a photographer, I joined the festivities as best I could. With an 8X10” view camera, I momentarily removed the Wenches from their reverie and photographed them, isolated, feet away from the party.

“All the photographs were made on January 1, 2009-2018 in South Philadelphia: a 10-day,10-year project.”

– Andrea Modica


PRINTING PROCESS

The work of Andrea Modica is the result of a hand-coated platinum process method performed by the artist herself in her darkroom. Andrea uses a large camera that produces 8×10 in negatives that she processes into platinum palladium prints by contact. Printed on transparent vellum paper or graphic layout paper, trimmed and then affixed to an 11×14 inches archival drawing paper, some prints are unmasked, though most are masked (unmasked prints show the brush marks). Some prints are mounted to the substrata and some are tipped into an 11×14 inches paper. These variations depend on when the print or the body of work was made.

Each photograph is unique, created as part of a meticulous technic used in the 19th century and guaranteeing a life span of a thousand years. The hand-coated platinum process nevertheless promises rich tones and spectacular and unique photographs.

“Because specificity of description is part of what photography’s always been about for me. It’s one of the reasons I started working with the big camera and making platinum prints.” Andrea Modica

 

Print Information

WHAT TYPE OF PAPER IS THE PHOTOGRAPH PRINTED ON?

All prints are Digital Pigment prints on museum-quality acid-free papers such as Museum Etching, Canson Rag and Arches Velin. These papers are designed to meet galleries and museum longevity requirements and ensure consistency of shades 200 years old. The choice of paper is suggested by the Photographer according to his or her preferences.

WHAT IS THE PRINTING PROCESS USED?

All prints are Digital Pigment Prints using the latest top of the line technology, archival high dynamic inks and 200 years old life paper.

IS THE IMAGE SIZE THE SAME AS THE PAPER SIZE?

NO! Our prints are on standard paper sizes and we don’t alter the image size and proportions to fit the paper. Each print has a minimum of 0.5 inch white border. This is an artistic decision that belongs to the artist. Margins don’t normally exceed 2-4 inches on each side depending on the final paper size.

Artist Bio

Andrea Modica was born in New York City and lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a photographer and teaches at Drexel University & the International Center of Photography. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar and a Knight Award recipient.

Andrea is a master photographer, with projects that explore all aspects of the photo terrain, including landscape, still life, even baseball, but her elegant and sensitive portraiture, captured with the slowed down methodology of large format, created as platinum prints, have an exquisite language and beauty that sets her work apart.

The subjects in Andrea’s photographs are tangled in a brilliantly organized web of focus shifting, obscured and stretched elements and open-ended narratives where fact and fiction collide and blur. The full activity of every frame is never entirely revealed, but it is never completely concealed either. It all feels buried in the multiple layers and tones of the images that Modica produces. This makes the us actively trying to grasp and understand what we sees through those layers in order to demystify this ominous veil of meanings and juxtapositions that the artist creates so beautifully. The fact that Modica’s work is about subjects that are both familiar and unfamiliar to her shows the fragile balance between uncertainty and caution, anticipation and hope in her work. It is this masterful ability to pull the viewer closer while creating this ambiguous tension in her work that distinguishes her.

Modica’s corpus brings us to a place where things are slightly askew, never really acknowledging what is and what is not. What’s presented to us leaves a certain impression of “déjà-vu” and yet can’t help us question the deeply intimate and mysterious elements of her work that aren’t quite disclosed. Modica creates images that reaches into our own fragility. The result of her approach to portrait and photography is one that is unique, unsettling and timeless, with a ghostly aura Modica’s platinum imagery will continue to fascinates for generations to come.

Modica’s photographs have been featured in many publications, including the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Newsweek and American Photo. Her books include Treadwell, Barbara, Minor League, Human Being, Fountain, As We Wait, January 1 and most recently, Lentini.

Modica has exhibited extensively and has had solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts.

Her photographs are part of the permanent collections of numerous institutions, including 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, the International Museum of Photography and Film at the George Eastman House, and the Bibliotheque Nationale.

All of Modica’s photographs are made with an 8X10” view camera using Kodak Tri-x film. All platinum prints* are produced, utilizing the non-silver,19th century hand-coated platinum process, proven to be unequivocally archival, rich and beautiful.
Each print is made manually by Andrea in a dimly lit room, from an 8×10 negative, using the same chemistry that was used in the 1800’s.

*Platinum prints have an estimate life span of a 1000 years

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