an august convergence

Converging Trajectories: Crossing Borders, Building Bridges is an invitational group exhibition.
Of the 42 artists in this exhibit, 21 of them are based in Brazil, from the cities of Niteroi/RJ, Pernambuco, Rio De Janeiro/RJ, Sao Paulo/SP, Maraba/Para, Porte Alegre/Rio Grande do Sul. Arizona artists come out of Phoenix, Douglas, Tempe, and Scottsdale. Mexico City/DF, Mexico and Buenos Aires, Argentina artists are present. As others coming from US cities including Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, and San Francisco.

One very ambitious grouping, curator Ted G. Decker brought forth upon this continent, and into our very own arts community.

At a time when Arizona is being subjected to SB1070 bad press and boycotts, it feels good to be a part of something inclusive, inviting, and by all accounts diverse and creative. And it’s taking place right in the heart of downtown Phoenix, at Modified Arts.

Justin P. Germain writes The show brings together diverse examples of contemporary art without a predisposed thematic element-seemingly the only link between the artists is the curator.  But the exhibition is not only a tool to organize and build interest in contemporary art. It serves as a framework to construct a community in which the cultures of the curator, the artists, and the viewers are brought together to re-code assumptions about group identity.  The artists are forever connected through the exhibition.  The viewer engages with the art and therefore with the artists.  Thoughts and ideas create a dialogue. Influences are made.  Connections become clear. The experience of the exhibition unifies and defines the constructed community.

The dialogue Germain refers to, is palpable. The whole experience is a professional and generous act on Ted’s part.

There’s a large variety of work: traditional/non-traditional, old media/new media, comfortable/uncomfortable, direct/indirect,  thoughtful/lively, quiet and easy.  There are  younger emerging artists, more mature artists and those in between.

I find Gustavo Artigas’ (Mexico City,DF, Mexico) Serigraphs appealing. The five on display, are part of a series titled Risk Paint Series. Images give the name of a pigment along with its health risk. As an artist who uses dry pigment regularly, I find the work not only visually striking but directly informative. Pigment, a health hazard, my health hazard. I speak with Gustavo about the series and also his other work, a video titled  Avalanche.
What does the video depict?  Opinions vary within the group. Go see it, you decide.

Gustavo Artigas (Mexico City, DF, Mexico) Cobalt Blue (from Risk Paint series)2009 Serigraph, #5 / Ed. 70 22" x 35.5"

Gustavo Artigas (Mexico City, DF, Mexico) Lithol Red (from Risk Paint series), 2009 Serigraph, #5 / Ed. 70 22' x 35.5"

Phoenician, Christ Puetz has an installation of richly colored, wonderfully textured, yet apparently sickly birds. In the beaded soft sculpture installation she calls Accidental Host, Christy refers to the cells of breast cancer, Bubonic Plague and other such diseases. Beautifully informative. Her and I discuss bacteria and the over load of fear concerning it, especially in American culture. I was going to write in our current American culture, but this isn’t new. We have quicker and easily repeated ways of distributing information and news these days. Is it growing worse, this fear?

Christy Puetz (Phoenix, Arizona, USA) Accidental Hosts, 2009 - 2010

Jen Urso, also from Phoenix, includes a large drawing previously exhibited in earlier stage. It’s been added to quite a bit, at this point. She truly, as Paul Klee would suggest, takes the line for a walk. I spent a good amount of time standing in front of the large, paper and fine marker work. Words like cellular and neural networks come to mind. But that’s not what’s behind the work for her, that’s only my interpretation.  She began drawing in January, and will continue until it’s complete. Slow, because it’s so intricate and large. Steady, because she documents the work and her days.

Leo Ayres, Rio de Jineiro, Brazil

Numerous artist use the body as subject matter. Brazilian Leo Ayres, pictured above, dropping in via SKYPE (on Saturday), alongside  his work, also plays with the idea of sexuality. A seeming delicate doily, maybe one your grandma might have on her traditional wooden end table,  turns out to be a paper cutout of what appears to be figures in various sexual positions.

Chico Fernandez also uses the body, his body, in both photograph and video. He and I discuss the comfort/discomfort people have with their bodies, and with sexuality in general, in his country of Brazil and in the US. The dialogue’s a good one.

Veronica Villanueva, currently from Scottsdale, though originally from Mexico, shows a multi-block reduction woodcut.  Hearts, hands, figures, Mayan symbols and forms fill the picture plane. A rich, deep color, texture and strong design are present. I ask her about process. She talks about the difficulty of printing this particular image, and tells of the press and its instability. Still, she pulled a great print. Printing is never as simple as it appears.


Verónica Villanueva (Scottsdale, Arizona, USA) Life of Dreams, 2005 27.5 x 19.5"

There’s clay, plastic, video, photography, works on paper, on canvas, prints, installations: large and small, gouache, graphite, pen and ink, yarn, hair… Did I mention the hair?

This small work becomes more intimate when I realize what the grid is made of. It’s one of those things you must see in person to appreciate. Go. See it.

And while you’re there note the magical photographs of Jo Jankovsky and Robert Martinez, the nostalgic portrait (and spinning toy top) by Rafael Navarro, the rich and mesmerizing painting of Mary Porterfield, the colorful linear works of Sharon Dowell, and the striking leather image by Marco Turrubiartes.
And yes, take a look at my painting (photo in the previous post) too.

There’s still so much more I can say.

I hope you get a sense that the grouping is broad, exciting, intelligent and full. Again I’ll say,  there’s new media, old media, emerging artists, mature artists. Easy and uneasy, bright and subtle, playful and disturbing, quiet and loud, it’s all present, thanks to curator Ted G. Decker and Modified Arts.

The show has been extended though Oct. 9th. You’ll have numerous weekends, and a couple of first Fridays to attend.  Make time to drop into the gallery. The exhibit is provocative.

What: Converging Trajectories: Crossing Borders to Build Bridges (curated by Ted G. Decker)

Who: 41 artist from Brazil, Arizona, Buenos Aires, Charlotte, Chicago, Mexico City, New York and San Fransisco

Where: Modified Arts
407 East Roosevelt
Phoenix, AZ 85004-1918

When: Opened August 20th.
Will run from August 20th thru October 9, 2010
Gallery Hours: Friday evening & Saturday 1-5pm,
First Friday 6-9pm, and by appointment

For more info visit Modified Arts. Org
Or visit Ted Decker.Com

converging trajectories: crossing borders, building bridges

I like everything about this exhibit.
Curator, Ted Decker, invited me to participate and when he did, he explained title and context. It’s personal. He says, Three years ago, after decades of working in business and in art museums, I started my own company, propelling myself on a new trajectory. The artists in the exhibition are some of the many wonderful, vital, and intelligent people I have encountered during this period of personal change and growth through extensive travel. They are on their own trajectories, and through me, there is an intersection.

Walmor Correa, Brazil

Chico Fernandes

In the short time I’ve known Ted, he’s introduced me to numerous artists and artworks, I may not have otherwise crossed paths with.  Artists like Carlos Contente, Carolina Ponte, Chico Fernandes, Walmor CorrêaGustavo Artigas…residing in Brazil, Buenos Aires and Mexico.  He’s introduced me to the eloquent video work of local artist Jenea Sanchez. Her work concerns itself with immigration and women’s issues.

Edgar Aguilar, Mexico

A note on Mary Porterfield, who received her MFA from ASU.  I haven’t seen her work in person, since she left the valley. She’ll not only have a painting in the exhibit, but she’s coming down from Chicago, to be at the opening.

Mary Porterfield, Perceiving the Brink, USA

He says about the exhibition:
The world continues to rapidly shrink with the development and use of technology, social networks, and travel. More than ever before, we are able to recognize that the people of the World strive for the same things in life and share dreams for the future. Unbelievably, it is still easier for art to cross borders drawn on maps than the actual artist who made the work. I am assembling the art, bringing it to Phoenix, and providing a nexus for people to connect with art and artists, many of whom are showing in the United States for the first time. Information about the exhibition is being broadcast from Phoenix out to many people living in places around the world through the use of technology that makes it possible for us to be interconnected with others across political borders. In a small and personal way, Converging Trajectories: Crossing Borders to Build Bridges builds bridges between people thereby promoting mutual understanding and abating fear of the other or the unknown.

Monica Aissa Martinez

It’s a high and worthy intention. I appreciate being a part of it. The exhibit includes numerous Phoenix artists,  naming only a few: Jen Urso, Christy Puetz, Rafael Navarro, Veronica Villanueva, and Robert Martinez. It includes 2D, 3D and video work. And the exhibition will be  accompanied by a four-color handout featuring a listing of participating artists, their artwork, and texts by Decker and independent curator Justin P. Germain.

Many Arizonans ARE thinking globally, come be a part of it.

    Who: 40 artist from Brazil, Arizona, Buenos Aires, Charlotte, Chicago, Mexico City, New York and San Fransisco
    What: Converging Trajectories: Crossing Borders to Build Bridges (curated by Ted G. Decker)
    Where: Modified Arts
    407 East Roosevelt
    Phoenix, AZ 85004-1918
    When: Opening Reception: Friday, August 20th, 6-9pm
    Show will run from August 20th thru October 9, 2010
    Gallery Hours: Friday evening & Saturday 1-5pm,
    First Friday 6-9pm, and by appointment

    * If you are in Phoenix, please join us for an intimate Meet and Greet event with exhibition artists, both from Phoenix and visiting from other places. Saturday, August 21, 1-3 pm

For more info on other events connected to this exhibit visit Modified Arts. Org