Grace Modla: A Holmdel Artist Emerges
Grace Modla finally decided to start exhibiting her work, and wonderful things are happening.
For the time I've known Grace Modla as a contributing writer to Holmdel Patch, I'd sometimes hear mention of her artwork. She was working on it in her studio. She didn't really show it. It wasn't really finished.
Last year her family, friends and nagging editor finally persuaded her to finish up something and enter it in Holmdel's Bayonet Farm Arts and Music Festival in September 2011, which is a professional-style art show juried by local art dealers in the rustic Red Barn. After nervously sitting on the application for a week, she finally decided to be brave. "What's the worst they can say? No," she reasoned.
Something wonderful happened. She won the First Place, People's Choice blue ribbon. "It was just really thrilling," she said, and accepted it as an affirmation to continue down a new path.
Since then, this Italian-born mother of two has felt embraced in the supportive local art scene in Monmouth County. For the last two weeks, she's presented her watercolors and mixed media collages depicting nudes in her own solo show, entitled "Untamed," at the Duncan Smith Theater during the run of the "Taming of the Shrew." Inspired by Shakespeare's story of gender-bending, role reversals, and the various attempts to "tame" women in the play, her show offers a complement of female resilience, an invitation to think about contemporary attempts at "taming" women. She's sold two works so far: "Kate" for $500 and "Fairest Creature" for $200. Following the positive reception her works have gotten, she's working with a printer to turn some of the images into limited edition giclee prints, which will sell for $75. She's put up a website and Facebook page.
"Art has always been a passion, and I've taken graduate art classes and workshops. But I never really made it a career focus. I never thought I could give it a go," said Modla on Friday. "But it hit me, once turning 50, that if I wanted to make a go of this there was no time to lose."
Modla's artwork has a dreamlike, timeless quality, and often features a female nude. "The human form is endlessly fascinating, the female form in particular. To me it expresses a lot of the intangible qualities that women possess: power, beauty -- a sense of endurance, strength, and loveliness," she said.
Modla's work has been shown in exhibits throughout the Red Bank area, including the Art Alliance of Monmouth County's 25th Annual State-Wide Juried Exhibition in November 2011. Three other pieces will be shown at their new members-only show, "Couples" and "Tone on Tone" from April 7-May 2. The Art Alliance is located at 33 Monmouth St. in Red Bank.
She recently learned that one of her watercolors was accepted at the Linus Galleries in Pasadena, CA for their upcoming exhibit entitled "Nude But Not Rude," with an opening reception on June 15, 2012.
Luckily for Patch, Modla, an educator and professional writer -- she recently got the personal cell phone number and first interview with the Alcatel-Lucent contract buyer through sheer persistance -- will continue to contribute features about life in Holmdel. Writing is a first love, she says, as much as she loves to create art. "I think of writing and art as twin aspects of my creative impulse, of what I have to offer."