news release: Akron Art Museum Names Andrea Modica as the 2015 Knight Purchase Award Winner
For Release: June 9, 2015
Akron, Ohio—The Akron Art Museum is pleased to announce Andrea Modica as the recipient of the 2015 Knight Purchase Award for Photographic Media. Modica teaches at Drexel University in Philadelphia and has received many honors for her work, including a Fulbright Grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Noted for her meticulous craftsmanship and evocative narratives, she uses traditional processes—an 8 x 10 inch view camera and platinum palladium contact printing—to achieve the lush tones that characterize her images. Modica speaks about the physicality of the view camera and the set up time required to operate it as necessitating her sustained attention, amplifying her understanding of her subjects. This quality is augmented by Modica’s practice of working in series, which have included explorations of skulls from a psychiatric hospital grounds, rural families in New York and Colorado, teenage best friends and landscapes.
The Knight Award acquisition of Modica’s work is envisioned to focus on work the artist has created in Italy, where she has spent significant time since 1990. Photographs she has taken in that country represent a range of the artist’s interests—women and girls, youth friendships, still life and—more recently—a horse hospital. Modica speaks of seeking to make compositions that draw viewers in using motifs that are not particularly beautiful in and of themselves and describes her practice as conceptual, but likewise acknowledges the importance of the physical object in her work. Janice Driesbach, Chief Curator at the Akron Art Museum, describes Modica as “creating photographs that are consistently of the highest standard. She is distinguished in her use of traditional practices to make compelling contemporary images and richly deserving of this important award, which will allow the museum to more fully represent Modica’s accomplishments. Acquisition of major photographic works by Modica also allows the museum to address the revival of interest in historic photography processes for meaningful contemporary statements.”
Modica’s photographs from Italy will be featured alongside examples from her other series in an exhibition in the Akron Art Museum’s Judith Bear Isroff Gallery that opens October 10, 2015 and will be on view through February 21, 2016. The artist will also present the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Lecture at the Museum on February 4, 2016 and meet with University of Akron advanced photography students during her upcoming visit to Akron.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Purchase Award for Photographic Media was established in 1990 by an endowment gift from the Knight Foundation. The award, which publicly recognizes artists’ achievements and funds the museum’s purchase of their work, is given to a living artist working with photographic media. Previous awardees include Harry Callahan, Mary Ellen Mark, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Yinka Shonibare and Cindy Sherman.
About the Akron Art Museum
The Akron Art Museum, dedicated to enriching lives through modern and contemporary art, showcases regional, national and international art created since 1850. The museum’s collection is presented in a spectacular facility designed by Viennese architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au and includes over 5,000 works of art, with a strong focus on contemporary painting, sculpture and photography. Nearly a dozen exhibitions each year present prominent artists in various media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, design and glass.
In addition to its ever-changing collection and exhibitions, the museum offers many opportunities to discover new perspectives through programs that include films and video, lectures, workshops, tours and concerts.
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