Bea Modisett: Field Work
March 19 – April 6, 2014
Reception: Thursday, March 20, 5-7pm
Artist Talk: Wednesday, March 26, 11:30am
23 Essex Street, Room 201
Bea Modisett, The White Mountains Remembered, 2011, Acrylic
Bea Modisett, By Way of Bangkok , 2013, oil on canvas
Bea Modisett, Mirthless Laughter, oil on canvas
Bea Modisett, Settling In, 2014, Charcoal on paper
Field Work an exhibition featuring painter Bea Modisett ‘07. Field Work is rooted in Modisett’s passion to explore landscape. Modisett is inspired by her experiences visiting unfamiliar places such as Bangkok, Cambodia and the Western US. The artist subjectively holds on to each encounter through her paintings. This exhibition explores how travel reconstructs and impacts the remembrance of place.
The title, Field Work references the travel and experience that ultimately serves as research for each abstractions. In Modisett’s practice, painting and travel are dependent parts. “They both fulfill the desires to create and overcome problems, to learn, to put myself in uncomfortable situations, to experience the intense highs and lows... It challenges me in so many ways and excites parts of my brain that may normally lay dormant. When I return from any type of travel, I seek to recreate that stimulation and excitement in my paintings – this always leads to growth.”
Admittedly, Modisett says that she does not expect the viewer to recognize every scene by its exact location or see the same landscape she sees. Rather than working from photographs, each composition is a constructed memory of places seen while traveling. Modisett says, “Painting from memory allows the most important and impactful moments of an experience to surface, whether they ‘happened’ or not. We highlight or obscure memories of a moment we have been distanced from; through abstraction I highlight or obscure my forms to represent this inevitability.” Aesthetic decisions such as color, layering and structure are techniques used to help bridge Modisett’s memory with what the viewer sees. “Having some sense of familiarity (the color of the sky or earth, etc) helps the viewer enter the piece and feel comfortable to look around and hearing their interpretations helps bring clarity to my own intentions.”
To satisfy a more immediate result, Modisett has recently experimented with charcoal. “Settling In”, 2014 is an abstract landscape constructed in charcoal. The piece embodies the core of Field Work: investigation. The grayscale of charcoal requires the viewer to linger in order to observe the surface more carefully. Unlike her work in oil which uses color to designate sky, rock, etc., charcoal negates any clues that might help define the sky or ground. Even the title, “Settling In” reinforces its anomonity. Without these more obvious “hints” to help the viewer to read the painting, the more important it becomes to that the viewer slow down and do some examining or “field work” of their own.
Bea Modisett earned her degree in Painting from Montserrat College of Art in 2007. She returned to the North Shore in the summer of 2013 after a meaningful experience abroad which led to her first solo exhibition, By Way of Bangkok at Hall Space in Dorchester, MA (2013). She has been interviewed by Temporary Land Bridge, an online publication in October, 2013. Modisett has received fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT and exhibited at Endicott College Center for the Arts, Beverly, MA and The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Parks, Lincoln, MA to name a few.
more work in this exhibit