Press Releases

news release: Extended Moments at the Akron Art Museum Presents the Work of Celebrated Photographer Andrea Modica

For Release: August 27, 2015

Akron—A young girl stands atop a small round table, looking directly at the viewer. Her hands are scrunched, one also holding onto a beaded curtain. The girl’s father stands in the background, tenderly grasping her legs to offer support, even though her posture suggests she is capable on her own. The photograph, printed in rich velvet tones, invites multiple stories as well as insights into the practice of Andrea Modica, a contemporary Philadephia-based photographer and the 2015 recipient of the Akron Art Museum’s Knight Purchase Award. It will be one of nearly 30 photographs on view in Extended Moments, an exhibition opening on Saturday, October 10, 2015 at the Akron Art Museum, celebrating Modica’s excellence in past, current and ongoing projects.

Extended Moments focuses on photographs Modica has taken in Italy, where she has made repeated visits since 1990. Images she has taken there represent a range of her interests—women and girls, landscape, still life and—more recently—horse hospitals. In her work, Modica seeks to make compositions that draw viewers in with subjects that are not particularly beautiful in and of themselves. She describes her practice as conceptual, but likewise acknowledges the importance of the physical object in her finished work.

Simply titled Sicily, Italy, the aforementioned photograph was made on the artist’s first trip to Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1990. As with all of her meticulously crafted photographs, it was taken using traditional equipment and materials—an 8 x 10 inch view camera and printed with platinum palladium in her darkroom. These allow the artist to record exquisite detail and to achieve lush tones in black and white images. Modica speaks of 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. In addition, her time-intensive process asks her subjects to participate in the making of the photographs, as acknowledged by the young Sicilian girl’s effort to hold still.

“Andrea Modica is exceptional in her use of traditional processes to create contemporary narratives,” comments Chief Curator Janice Driesbach. “Her photographs are beautifully composed and often use uncommon approaches or subjects. Modica’s photographs of teenage best friends are insightful studies of relationships. A photograph of the hands of a mother pinning her son’s slacks records an ordinary moment in an extraordinary way.”

In Extended Moments, Modica’s photographs of Italy are interspersed with images from series she has undertaken exploring the lives of families in upstate New York (Treadwell), the individuality of anonymous skulls excavated from the grounds of a psychiatric hospital in Colorado and young participants in Philadelphia’s New Year’s Day Mummers parade. Prints dating as early as 1986 on view alongside studies from recent projects that are continuing are all distinguished in offering quiet moments and conveying the humanity of their subjects.

Driesbach also notes “We are particularly pleased to feature Modica’s work in conjunction with her selection for this year’s Knight Purchase Award and to announce that the artist will be visiting Akron to present the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Lecture at the Museum on February 4, 2016.” The Knight Award, established by an endowment gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 1990, recognizes the achievements of a living artist who is making major contributions in the photographic media by funding the purchase of their work, and has played an important role in building the museum’s outstanding photography collection.

This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum and generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Anne and Don Palmer.

Related Events:
As We Wait, by Andrea Modica. Pre-Sale
Andrea Modica's new book presents a collection of 49 previously unpublished photographs from various projects in Italy and the United States. The monograph has been beautifully produced by the renowned printing company Grafiche dell'Artiere, a family-run company in Bologna, Italy. As We Wait was edited and sequenced by the photographer Larry Fink, whose poetic introduction adds illuminating context for Modica’s ethereal images.

Regularly $75, Presale Order Special Pricing $50 + one reserved seat at Andrea Modica's February 4, 2016 lecture at the Akron Art Museum. Visit the art museum website for details:

The Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Lecture presented by Andrea Modica: February 4, 2016, 6:30 pm, at the Akron Art Museum.

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