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Mary Modeen

Mary Modeen is an artist/printmaker who also works in artist books, installations, and recently, in video and sound. She is also an academic of nearly 30 years full-time experience in higher education, residing in Scotland where she convenes the Art, Philosophy and Contemporary Practices at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee. Born in the USA (Madison, Wisconsin) of Scandinavian and Native American ancestry, she lived and taught in many states, latterly in New Hampshire where she lectured at Dartmouth College until moving to Scotland in 1989.

As a committed interdisciplinary scholar, Modeen’s academic background included degrees in literature and music as well as art, and two postgraduate degrees, one in aesthetic education and a Master of Fine Art in printmaking. She is interested in the nexus of traditional and visual culture, and contemporary art, in Aotearoa/New Zealand and other island cultures, both literal and metaphorical. In work ranging from Mannin/Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Aotearoa/New Zealand as physical islands, and Native American/First Nation Canadian, Maori, and Basque peoples as indigenous cultures, she has been examining the interplay between cultural identities and art, combining creative practice with critical writing. While Modeen appreciates critical writings which examine similar material from the standpoint of visual anthropology or post-colonial philosophy, for example, her interests lie in the intersection between art-making, visual representation, and perceptual perspectives. She reappraises aspects of Indigenous peoples’ identity and how this is manifested visually; the land and its role in shaping life; and questions how ‘locational memory’ functions and its subsequent visualisation and representations; in short, the aesthetics of land, place and its people. In Modeen’s research place is the locus for philosophical reflection contested values made visible.

In 2007 she was a Senior Research Fellow and artist-in-residence in New Zealand at the University of Otago, Dunedin, working with Maori Studies scholars. In conjunction with this, an exhibition of prints and videos entitled Tangata Whenua (translated as either ‘local people’ or ’people of the land’) was held.

Her artwork is represented by the Graphic Studio Gallery of Dublin, Ireland and has been exhibited widely across the world. Two recent books are This Place Called Home, published by Manx National Heritage, and Remembered Places, published by Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.

She is currently a co-investigator on an interdisciplinary AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council)-funded large research project entitled “Poetry Beyond Text: Vision, Text and Cognition”.

Current position

Senior Lecturer, Fine Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College, University of Dundee

Fellowships/ Residencies

Senior Research Fellow and artist-in-residence in New Zealand at the University of Otago, Dunedin, working with Maori Studies scholars.

Selected Exhibitions - Solo

  • 2007
    • Te Whenua Maori, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, with acquisitions for the permanent collection
    • Tangata Whenua, Te Tumu Arts Ctr., University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
    • Remembered Places I and II, (two simultaneous solo exhibitions) Ballarat Fine Arts Gallery, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia: 5-6/2007 Old Post Office Galleries, Ballarat. With book publication: Remembered Places.
  • 2006
    • What Is This Place Called Home?, Manx National Heritage Museum, Douglas, Isle of Man. With book publication This Place Called Home.
  • 2004
    • Patterns of All Our Days, Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards, Northern Ireland, in collaboration with the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum. Followed by Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries, Scotland.
  • 2003
    • Layers of Time (prints), Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards, Northern Ireland
  • 2000
    • Mary Modeen. University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Solo exhibition of prints plus a commissioned sculpture in a Public Art context for the campus
  • 1998
    • The Eternal Contemporary, Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, Washington
    • Fifteen years of lithographs, Lithographiska Akadamin, Tidaholm, Sweden - in conjunction with the International Lithographic Symposium and group exhibition of international lithographs
  • 1997-98
    • East of the Sun, West of The Moon, Sculptural Installation, in conjunction with the Scottish Sculpture Open Number 9, juried by Prof. Duncan Macmillan; sited at MacRoberts Art Centre, University of Stirling. Subsequent siting at Lumsden, Aberdeenshire
  • 1997
    • Graces, Fates and Furies. Main Editions Gallery, Hahndorf, Adelaide, South Australia
    • Mary Modeen. Impact Gallery, Buffalo, New York USA
  • 1996
    • Artspace Gallery, Peacock Printmakers, Aberdeen
    • Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews
    • Malaspina Printmakers Society, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    • Kari Baas Gallery, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
  • 1995
    • Graces, Fates & Furies, Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, USA
    • Fenix Underground, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
  • 1994
    • Vesica Piscus (an installation) University of Aberdeen, Visitor Centre, Aberdeen
  • 1993
    • International Arts Symposium (an installation) Hermit Foundation, Czech Ministry of Culture, Plasy, Czech Republic
    • Text and Subtext, University of Aberdeen, Senior Common Room, Aberdeen, Scotland
  • 1989
    • Recent Work, Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
  • 1988
    • Prints and Drawings from Scotland, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
    • Works on Paper, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, Aberdeen, Scotland

+6 other solo shows internationally since 1979

Selected Exhibitions - Two-Person

  • 1996-98
    • One Woman, One Man, collaboration folio de luxe with John Burnside, Writer in Residence, University of Dundee; launched at the Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, Washington
  • 1992
    • Arcane Knowledge, Artspace Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland with Ian Howard
  • 1987
    • Rooms for Thought, Recent paintings, Woodstock Gallery, Woodstock, Vermont, USA, with James Watkinson

+ 5 other dual shows internationally since 1979

Selected Exhibitions - Group

  • 2004-7
    • Symbolic Sites: The International Archive of Humanist Art, Guernica, Spain; Counihan Gallery, Melbourne, Australia and Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Australia; Portadown and Belfast Northern Ireland; Durban, South Africa; Tiblisi, Georgia; and Kent State University, Ohio, USA. With colour illustration in book: Art and Humanist Ideals: The International Archive of Humanist Art, William Kelly, Ed. Published by Palgrave-Macmillan, c. 2003. ISBN.
  • 2000
    • The Road to Meikle Seggie: 70/2000 Kingston on Thames, Group exhibition; plus extensive tour following
  • 1998
    • Contents and Contexts: Lithography After 200 Years, juried international exhibition, Academy Art Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
    • Continental Shift an exhibition of six American artists resident in Britain, Peterborough City Art Gallery, England
    • Lithographs:Scottish/Swedish, Lithographiska Akademin, Tidaholm, Sweden: with second venue in Stockholm

+ 47 other group shows internationally since 1979

Selected Public Collections

  • International Archive of Humanist Art, Melbourne, Australia
  • University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  • Swedish Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Scottish Equitable PLC, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • McManus Gallery, Dundee City Art Galleries, Scotland
  • Scottish Conservancy Council, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Hungarian National Museum of Art, Budapest, Hungary
  • Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museum, Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
  • Arts & Humanities Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
  • Old State Capitol, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA


Mary Modeen