NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

‘A Field of Lost Hair Ties’ on display in NECC gallery

Black and white drawing of a woman gathering up a huge pile of hair tiesPhoto by Arts and Entertainment Editor Caroline Magner

A glimpse of the art featured in “A Field of Lost Hair Ties,” exhibit currently on disply in the Linda Hummel-Shea ArtSpace Gallery inside the Bentley Library on the Haverhill campus.

Tall, teetering towers of snakelike rings stand tall and sway a bit, forming the appearance of some strange forest. 

Upon further inspection, however, these snakelike rings of which the towering figures are teeming with appear to be elastic hair ties. 

This is what one can expect to see in Sam Modder’s solo art exhibition, A Field of Lost Hair Ties, which is currently on view at the Northern Essex Community College art gallery. 

The story of Modder’s piece becomes unraveled on the walls to the viewer as they stroll through the exhibit: A young Black woman dressed in a short nightdress and striped knee socks attempts to wrangle up the heaps of hair ties, stopping midway through and using one of the hair ties to pull back the frizzy curls from her own face. 

One of the most remarkable aspects of Modder’s piece is the incredible detail. 

At a glance, it’s all shadow and light but up close, the viewer can identify countless lines drawn in black ballpoint pen, which Modder says has been digitally manipulated. 

In certain spots, the artwork actually leaps off from the white backdrop, and seemingly appears to flood into the gallery. 

The drawings themselves entering and sharing the space with the viewer; as Modder says herself in a statement on the piece, she works to “portray larger-than-life Black, female characters taking up space in real and imagined worlds.” 

This she captures perfectly.

“ I like the distinction of the lines, as well as the negative space, (the contrast of the two)really makes everything stand out. The hair is my favorite part,” one person wrote in the notebook offered to visitors to express their thoughts on the work. 

A close up of black and white drawing of woman's face with hair ties coming out by her mouth,Photo by Arts and Entertainment Editor Caroline Magner

A close up of Sam Modder’s exhibit, “A Field of Lost Hair Ties.”

The Northern Essex’ gallery, called the Linda Hummel-Shea ArtSpace Gallery, is located inside of the Bentley Library on the Haverhill campus and has been home to many art exhibits over the years, including works from the school’s current students as well as outside artists, like Modder. 

Sam Modder is a Nigerian-born artist and graduate from Dartmouth College. 

On her website she introduces herself by saying “I draw Black people taking up space in all their texture, vibrancy and power… I want my art to take up space, be accessible and exude truth, joy and hope.”

The exhibit will be on display until Nov. 3.