Andrea Modica

Andrea Modica was born in New York City and lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a photographer and teaches in the Photography Program at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. A graduate of the Yale School of Art, she is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar. Her books include As We Wait, Treadwell, Barbara, Minor League, Human Being and Fountain. Modica exhibits nationally and internationally, and she 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, and currently at the Akron Art Museum. Andrea Modica’s 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 American Art Museum, the International Museum of Photography and Film at the George Eastman House, and the Bibliotheque Nationale. Today we share Andrea’s series titled As We Wait.

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Larry Fink’s essay from Andrea Modica’s 2015 book: As We Wait

“Andrea Modica works with sensual love as her base but aligned with a darkness which is
pervasive, so much so that it can color your dreams. The work is not hopeless but
breathless, as if there is an atmospheric gauze placed over the larynx So that breathing
has to be softened, done in silence so that walking the tight rope between an exalted life
and a sultry death .you shan’t emit too loud a sound. The balance is so tentative, so
tactile, so absolutely fragile that there is the danger of tipping the scales of mortality in
clear sight.

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We enter the work through an illusionary visage of two men sitting on the edge of a steaming tub. A rectangular pool, one is naked the other in a sports coat. One is looking haltingly into the future the other waiting ominously within the present. They set the scenario for the dark theatre which is to come; a vascular pulse generates throughout the work, which sure-footedly explores the aspects of life which have no surety at all. It is perhaps this soft pulse which separates this work from art. So many of the compositions are artful and exquisitely divined, but art is not the point here. Art, in its tendency for
commoditized promiscuity, will not dwell easily on the edge of heat and possible demise. Nothing is disappearing here; it is in your face but without being frontal, it lays back and allows you to be seduced by meanings which are not to be understood.

Mystery pervades but the images are not about mystery; that would be a supercilious intention. Modica doesn’t dwell on anything trite: she gets right to the point… But what is the point? The viewer is constantly suspended between future tense and past dread, between a sensual lust and a limpid patina.

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This is a work which has a soft edge but roars like a weighted crow in its insistence for
transcendence. Flying low, moaning, loving, holding the deepest of sentiments dear, but
with no sentimental meanings attached… Everything is suspended but all at the same
time heavy… This is not easy work, nor is it hard.

But to try to understand where it takes you is to let go of any preamble about what things
are supposed to be. One walks simply through time into the dark and into the senses;
the clock has no hands, light illuminates but doesn’t decipher. Nothing is as it should be,
but in this applied present, the past informs the future and allows us a certain quivering
uncertainty which we will have to call being — being here, being here now.

Surprisingly from time to time, there is an innocence which floats to the surface of your
heart. From out of the darkness a blink of tender rapture appears. Not exactly an
unintended gust at the table, but a delightful one and one which holds the work in some
balance, informing us that within the deep concerns of mortality there is a bubbling
assortment of impulses that allows life to be felt as whole. to be suspended within
wonder is part of the oratorio singing along with the dread, giving all parts of the work
credence and organizing sound, as if symphonic, rather than just an obsessive dirge.”

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To view more of Andrea’s work please visit her website.