Renowned Photographer’s “Theatrum Equorum” Opens June 15 at Berman
In Theatrum Equorum, acclaimed Philadelphia photographer Andrea Modica provides viewers with a raw, unveiled look at a horse hospital in northern Italy owned by prominent veterinary surgeon and artist Fabio Torre.
The exhibition runs June 15, 2022, through December 11, 2022, at the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art on the Ursinus College campus.
“Through the lens of her large format camera, Andrea Modica renders horses uncanny, revealing a curious and majestic vulnerability, as they drift in or out of surgical anesthetic sleep. Still lifes of pre- and post-operative surgical instruments—pristine or bloodied, methodical or disarrayed—imbue these states of induced tranquility with a sense of unease,” Berman Museum Creative Director Deborah Barkun said. “In Modica’s luminous platinum prints, dramas of equine medicine unfold in disquieting dignity.”
Modica, who is known for creating portfolios that intimately tell stories, uses an 8x10 camera—a process that takes time and patience—to produce the platinum prints. She is a professor at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and the recipient of a Knight Award.
Modica’s photographs capture post-surgical animals in states of recovery from procedures like fracture repair and tooth extraction and highlight surgical tools essential to the healing process. “There’s something sacred about about the animals and the process of being able to go through this with them—a state of extreme vulnerability for an animal of that power,” Modica said.
Modica said she can draw parallels between the images in the exhibition and themes of mortality, spirituality, and Christianity, but also looks forward to hearing how viewers react to and interpret the images.
Theatrum Equorum will also be published in a book by TIS Books. Her other books include Treadwell and Minor League, and her photographs have been featured in New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsweek, and American Photo.
“Modica’s quietly poignant photographs have the ability to spark dialogue about the ambiguity of ‘beauty’ and the power of vulnerability in art,” Berman Museum Executive Director Lauren McCardel said. “Her unique approach to her subjects and to image making demands a deep physical and emotional response from the viewer. We’re thrilled to show her work at the Berman and look forward to the conversations it will generate.”