Andrea Modica: Fountain

New York

15 January — 16 February 2008

Press Release

Edwynn Houk Gallery is pleased to announce the first exhibition of over twenty new photographs from Andrea Modica’s latest series: Fountain, Colorado. For over nine years, Modica has been documenting the extraordinary lives of the Baker children; heirs to a family-run slaughterhouse in the plains of central Colorado. Andrea Modica, long renowned for her virtuosity in printing 8 x 10 platinum/palladium prints, will be exhibiting large-scale works for the first time in her career. Fountain opens to the public on 15 January 2008, with a reception for the artist the following week: 24 January 6-8 PM. The exhibition will coincide with the forthcoming publication of Fountain by Stinehour Editions, 2008, the artist’s seventh monograph.

After moving to Colorado in the late 1990’s, Andrea Modica became interested in the unique world of the slaughterhouse, and the professional and personal lives of those who make the slaughterhouse their livelihood. Modica’s artistic curiosity was initially met with resistance, as several slaughterhouses suspected photographers to be critical of their trade. Word of mouth, however, led the artist to the Bakers, a family that runs their own business in Fountain, Colorado. The Bakers permitted Modica to enter their family sphere, producing a sensitive collection of photographs that yield the same intimacy expressed in previous projects such as: Treadwell and Barbara.

At once unsettling and beautiful, Modica’s photographs record the artist’s gradual immersion into the Baker family. Exterior views of the slaughterhouse give way to more private photographs taken in the family basement. As the Baker girls spoke of boys, makeup, sports, and elements of adolescent life that were removed from their jobs at the slaughterhouse, Modica cast the children into a visual narrative expressing a strange beauty: a beauty tinged with sadness and an element of omnipresent danger. Illuminated by the soft glow of a single bulb dangling from the basement ceiling, these photographs exude a quiet heaviness, connecting them to more explicit images of death found throughout the series. In this context, still-life scenes become particularly somber, and even a mundane object like a spoon carries a new and latent danger.

A Guggenheim fellow, Modica has exhibited her work extensively in the United States and Europe. Modica’s photographs are featured in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. A longtime professor and guest lecturer, Modica has taught at numerous institutions including State University of New York at Oneonta, Princeton University, and the Parsons School of Design. Modica is currently an Associate Professor of photography at Drexel University. She currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Lunenburg, Vermont.