a city, modified: 20 years of modified arts

A City, Modified, is a cross between historical exhibition and invitational. The show surveys Modified Arts’ origin in 1999 to the present day and explores the galleries’ history as a music venue and arts space in downtown Phoenix through photographs and historical memorabilia. It is also an invitation to a selection of artists that have had an impact on the space and the arts community in Phoenix over the last two decades.

Participating Artists Include:
Annie Lopez
Brent Bond
Christine Cassano
David Dauncey
Daniel Funkhouser
James Angel
Jerry Jacobson
Douglas Miles
John Randall Nelson
Laura Spalding Best
Malena Barnhart
Monica Aissa Martinez
Rembrandt Quiballo
Sergio Aguirre

Who: Modified Arts
What: A City, Modified
When: November 15 – December 14th
Opening Reception: Third Friday, November 15th, 2019 6pm-9pm
Closing Reception: First Friday, December 6th, 2019 6pm-9pm
Where: Downtown Phoenix, Roosevelt Row

407 E Roosevelt, Phoenix AZ 85004
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday 9a-5p, Saturday 12-4p
or by appointment at info@modifiedarts.org
more → www.modifiedarts.org
Facebook invite

Congratulation Modified!

Here are 2 of my memories (in photo)…

2010 / Converging Trajectories, Crossing Borders to Build Bridges

2011 / What Goes On and What Takes Place


a legend

Making a map, reconstructing a map, playing with the idea of a map…this is what I’m doing. A city, a living organism, the bigger picture…this is what I’m thinking. Liking all the crazy detail coming forward. It’s new work for an upcoming exhibition at downtown’s Regular GalleryPhoenix New Times Amy Silverman and Claire Lawton invited me, and 9 other artists, to create a Map of Phoenix. This weekend I’m setting up the map’s Legend. It’s occurs to me very late last night, I probably should have done this first.

Legend, I’ve learned, comes from the Latin, legenda, “things to be read.” Maps inform by using symbols.  A map’s legend tells you what the symbols mean.  In the case of my map there are the usual practical map symbols…city street, interstate, park…and then on top of that is alteration and abstraction, implying something else. I not only want to layout Phoenix, I want to point to a larger idea.  If I set the legend up right, there will be no need for an artist statement. It will not only lay out what I’ve done, but why.

This posting is visual help to me, really…as this is work in progress. I think I don’t need text in the legend, but my husband says I do…

City of Phoenix (a living organism)

A Cell (a living organism)

Above, the start of the Legend

Cell Membrane – City Wall
Golgi Apparatus – Post Office
Lysosomes – Waste Disposal and Recycling

Mitochondria – Energy Plant
Nucleolus – Mayor
Nucleus – City Hall

Nuclear Membrane – City Hall fence and security
Ribosomes on Endoplasmic Reticulum – Highways and Roads

Cytoplasm –  Lawns and Parks


Bigger picture.

Organ (kidney) – State

United States – Body System (digestive system)

Planet – I am Here  You Are Here

To be continued…

a regular gallery visit

Regular Gallery, Greg Esser’s new art space, is small and intimate.  Artist Lisa Marie Sipe’s new work, is personal. Combine the two, and you have a perfect match.

The show resulted from the very personal experience of losing someone you love, to cancer.  This is not the subject Lisa planned to deal with, but it’s the matter that presented itself.
She includes titles like…”The tumor is VERY little,”  “It started with a backache,” and “Size of a pea, top of the brain.”
I find the work rich and full. And as I move from piece to piece, I wonder if Lisa immersed herself in trying to make sense of it all. I’ve visited a cancer research lab, and I recall slides of the various cancers where color is added and images appear beautiful. But it’s cancer. I find myself talking to Lisa about the experience that led up to making the work for the solo. She shares some thoughts, and I do too.  No answers, no philosophical draws, just human exchange. Her work is  key for that door.

“Boo…they wouldn’t put on the sirens for me!”
mixed media and encaustic on wood
20 x 10 inches

One is not supposed to touch things in a gallery setting, but I do want to touch.  Things are bright, delicate, and so richly textured. I get very close to the work, to see it. I ask Lisa about her process and materials.  She gathered images and printed them out on paper, using both sides of the sheet in some instances.  Then she began construction. If you are familiar with Lisa’s work, you know she works in encaustic. But this is all very different. There is the wax, and color, and fluid design usual in her art, but these are more than 2 dimensional pieces. Though most of them hang on the wall, they have form, depth, and illusion of movement. She speaks about finding the new approach freeing. She shares how normally she has end result clear in mind, and knows what things will look like. This time, she wasn’t certain about anything. The comment  brings back the subject at hand.

 Size of a pea, top of the brain
mixed media and encaustic on wood
20 x 10 inches

As I’m getting ready to leave the gallery I note a bright yellow bucket in the corner. Is that a piece? I ask.  Yes it is. Like all children, my aunt played with buckets of dirt, Lisa says. The mixed media on found object is titled “We’re rooting for you kid.”
Go see Girl Plays in Radioactive Dirt.

Visit Lisa’s website for complete artist statement and some great shots of her work and the installation.

Outside I chat a bit with artist Kate Timmerman, who is also visiting galleries this afternoon. Kate quickly says, I’ll be making phone calls soon, and this saves me a phone call!  Do consider voting for Greg Stanton. She talks about several of his causes including funding for the arts. Very good, Kate.
I drop into a few more galleries, talk to a few more artists…and now as my day comes to a close, I still feel invigorated by our artist community.

WHO:              LISA MARIE SIPE


918 N. 6th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-1918
(602) 614-8727

WHEN:          May 20th –  June 11th, 2011   

The space is off the beaten path, so be sure to look for the entrance at the back where there’s plenty of parking.

what goes on and what takes place/ the venue

A few weeks ago (April 11th), I wrote about collaborating on an art exhibit, with three other artists. Yesterday, the four of us met with Kim Larkin.  Modified Arts, will host the exhibition.

Modified is run by Kim Larkin and Adam Murry. Kim made the round of studio visits, and then agreed to meet with the group on Saturday afternoon. Adam stepped in to greet everyone, and then he was off.

About the space…it appeals to all of us. It’s open and well-lit.  It has cool sophistication and yet  it retains its original charm. It’s in downtown Phoenix. And it has lots of history.

We do talk a little bit about the history of Modified. And then Kim speaks about their vision as the new directors of the space. She’s grounded. Intelligent.  Clear. Flexible. I had these thoughts, when I spoke to her in my studio, and listening to her in this meeting, I am aware of them again.

She has a sense of integrity we all connect to. I especially like that we discuss the exhibition as a whole experience. Kim brings up the idea of a community component. This is in perfect alignment with our plan.  We’re in agreement about connecting with /interacting with/and pulling in the audience. We want to make the experience accessible and inclusive. Ideas tossed about: showing the creative process through photos, personal material (studio ephemera, studio debris), speakers, event/s, video, and music/sound. How this part evolves, you’ll have to wait and see, just like us.

There will be one large, main artwork from each of us. And a few smaller supporting works, that specifically accompany the larger work. Included is the showing of process, in a more personal manner, will be bits and pieces from each.

Kim mentions bringing fun into the equation. We agree…it’s present already, it will naturally be a part of the end result.
WHEN will all this fun peak? I am really pleased to say…next year, during Art Detour.  Feb 18th- March 12th.

We note to Kim that we plan to reveal the other 3 artists, one a time.  She’s good with this. But as I write this…I’m not so good with it. I want to tell you who the other artists are right now!  Another clue below…..can you guess?

Obviously…four women.  I hope soon to reveal one of the other artist.

We play around with shooting photos and then our afternoon meeting ends. I leave feeling the agreement to create this experience is respectful and beneficial, to each of us and our own individual process of working. Kim offers the gallery, Modified, and we offer our work. In the agreement there is plenty of freedom to really create. It’s the thing that is driving this show. EXCITING.
Win-win for all, including you, if you’re inclined.




WHO: 4 Women Artist. More to come soon.

Stay tuned!

the first bit, more pieces to come

Today I offer the first glimpse of a creative collaboration that I am excited to be writing about. Involved are three other artists. Here begins the first formulations of what will be a future art exhibition.

The group of four has come together for specific reasons, most important is that we want to work together. Working together is a bit more involved than merely showing together in an art exhibit. It includes a systematic series of actions directed to some end. What is the end? Simply put, it’s the creative experience itself.

Certain criteria underlies the procedure of coming together. The artists are mature in their work, with a certain level of ambition still very palpable in their art. Not one  of us can call ourselves an “emerging” artist anymore. There’s experience present, singularly and collectively. And though there hasn’t been a “merging” within every arena wanted, everyone’s on it, in their own way, be sure of this.  Each has an MFA. With this footing, a level of tenacity and self-awareness is implied. Each person can draw, though each of us handles the ability in a very different manner. Everyone relates to the education process as a student, and as a teacher. And each person’s sensibility stands out as unique and precise. You see the individuals hand in the individuals works. There’s unmistakable presence of time, be it fast and quick or slow and steady. And evolution is a constant.

The evening’s conversation bounces around, as we share a meal. Discussion involves how we proceed in making art.  Process will be a part of the exhibition so this discussion is important.  How does one begin a work of  art? Is end result in mind? I listen to each response, there’s overlap in conversation, excitement, agreement, curiosity. I hear how different everyone is, in some external sort of way.  I do note a more internal form of connection as well.

Conversation continues. What do you listen to while in studio? This one element is important to everyone, so much so we discuss it at various points in the evening. Someone asks if the impetus to create is retinal or cerebral? Interesting choice of descriptive words. It’s retinal, they’re in agreement. I pause to consider. I can’t answer easily. Intuition, instinct, a strong understanding of the elements of design, confidence in the process, materials, adventures, age, personal interests…we’re talking about all of it. One spouse contributes a comment that gets our attention. It appears to me, you all solve problems. One person voices appreciation.  We all agree with the observation.

Here it is, in a nutshell. We’re working together, yes. There are four of us. We may have a venue and a general time line.  The whole picture isn’t clear…yet….but we do see it happening. It’s retinal. What do we call the exhibition? It’s important that we get this. It’ll determine various specifics.

This evening we’ve each brought along something. Some thing we work with; tool, material, a bit of process stuff. The symbol is a jumping point to help formulate a working title. I enjoy the discovery, the sharing. We throw words around. Out comes Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary , and I begin to read.

Process – operation.  PROCESS. PROCEDURE. PROCEEDING.   Apply to something that goes on or takes place.
A PROCESS is a series of progressive and interdependent steps by which an end is attained.
PROCEDURE usually implies a formal or set order of doing a thing, a method of conducting affairs.
PROCEEDING applies to what goes on or takes place…

“That’s it! I like that!”  One person calls out. Though I’ve not finished reading the whole thing, with similar excitement, everyone agrees. The working title of our project becomes What Goes On and What Takes Place.

Here, you have the Why. I’ll fill you in on the Who these other artists are and the Where, and When the exhibition will take place, and a few other important details.  Bit by bit, time will reveal.  After all, the creative experience, is what it’s all about. This collaboration is a building of trust in the process, as we each continue to make art.

Stay tuned, more to come!

P.S. this is way better than any reality show.
Hmmmm…..now what if….

next month at five 15

Peeking into Five 15 Gallery, in downtown Phoenix, I recognize Mary Shindell’s work. Slim, vertical sculpture fills the center area, small 2D work lines the walls. I catch a glimpse of Mary at the back of the long, narrow space.
The gallery isn’t open. It appears she may be completing the install. I am tempted to knock on the door but I decide against it just then. I don’t want to interrupt her and anyway… I would want time…to really look at her work.

If you’re familiar with Mary’s art, you know it’s captivating. Her drawings and sculpture are based on the landscape that surrounds her, the Sonoran Desert.

Planning to spend an afternoon, in the new year, to catch this exhibit of new work. 


Who:               Mary Shindell

What:              Amend, Amass A Solo Exhibition

When:             Opening January 1, 2010, First Friday
                          Exhibit runs:  Jan 1-30, 2010
                          Reception: January 15, 5 p.m., Third Friday

                          Open every Friday 5-9 p.m.
                                               Saturday 1-5 p.m.  or by appointment

Where:             Five 15
                            515 E. Roosevelt
                            Phoenix AZ  85004 

For more information about Mary’s work, visit her web site at  www.maryshindell.com.

then and now


Wishes to Remain Anonymous, 2009 Encaustic and mixed media on panel

Artist Kate Timmerman  is having a solo exhibition, opening the 3rd Friday in November, at Modified Arts. Kate is a mixed media artist who works with materials like wax, pigment, wood, plaster, lead and steel.
The exhibit titled “Then and Now,” will consist of works that date back to 1998 and into the present, included are 12 new works. Kate says of her progression “I noticed themes that were re-emerging over the last decade and I hope this grouping shows the audience how artists revisit themes in new ways and how we also keep investigating themes as we grow and learn.”

This exhibition will look at themes of creatures, desert botanicals and text abstractions.  You’ll see realistic portrayals of bonobo chimpanzees in oil and encaustic, and more abstracted creatures richly constructed with layers of pigmented wax, influenced by outsider art. Timmerman includes botanical works that are distorted and sculptural.
Kate’s references range from personal issues of identity to broader political and social topics.

Who:                 Kate D. Timmerman

What:                Then and Now, A Solo Exhibition

Where:              Modified Arts
                          407 E Roosevelt

When:               Opening Reception Friday, November 20th, from 6-9 p.m.
                          Artist Reception December 4, First Friday.
                          The show will hang thru December 12th
                          *The gallery will also be open Nov 21, Dec 5 and Dec.12th, 1-5 pm.

In addition, visitors will  also have the opportunity to enter a lottery to win one of Timmerman’s paintings with a donation of pet food for the benefit of Poverty’s Pets. Poverty’s Pets is a downtown Phoenix group that rescues, neuters and places animals. Kate will be accepting pet food donations throughout the run of the exhibit. The drawing will be held on the last day of the show, Dec. 12th.

For more about Kate’s work visit  kdtimmerman.com.

3rd friday at modified arts











Who:              Alfredo Manzo Cedeno
                                       and Carolyn Lavender

What:            Opening reception

Where:          Modified Arts
                          407 E Roosevelt St
                          Phoenix, AZ 85004-1918
                          (602) 462-5516

When:          Friday, Oct 16 6-9 P.M.

Cuban born artist, Alfredo Manzo Cedena’s new work is influenced by recent health challenges. Brain cancer and ensuing aggressive therapy will be the focus of his upcoming solo at downtown’s Modified. Though he has been sick throughout this process, he has managed to complete a number of works for this showing. 

Phoenix artist, Carolyn Lavender, will show one work along with Manzo. She sent a small photograph she called a tease. It represents only a small detail of a very ambitious panel. Carolyn describes the content of the 24″ x 54″ wood panel work  “…a graphite drawing directly on wood surface.  It is a fictional scene  based on a real suicide that happened this summer.  She was connected to my family.  She walked into the woods near Boulder, where she lived, shot herself and was not found for weeks.  I am portraying the event with an imagined scene of the woods, filled with animals.  I don’t literally show the event.” 

The Woods

The Woods, detail

I ask Carolyn for any more thoughts about the exhibit and she says…”I think it will be a powerful show.” 
I suspect it will be. I want more photographs of both their work, and I want more detail.
Carolyn’s response…come by on Friday night and see the work  in person. Talk with Manzo. He doesn’t speak much English yet, so if you meet him you can use your Spanish with him.  
Entonces haré eso

For more info contact Kimber Lanning at 602-312-4203.



Today I installed the exhibit.

…do my best to be organized.  But sometimes things just happen. The gallery director was not feeling well. He called in sick. The paint job from the night before hadn’t worked out. Two different whites, a cool and a warm, laying haphazardly on top of each other.
The sound equipment didn’t want to work, and when it finally did…the C.D. didn’t play.  

So…paint had to be purchased. Walls needed to get repainted. Eddie volunteered.  Quick to roll on, quick to dry.
David, from  Media Services, came in  and patiently reset the sound system.  And then he re-burned the C.D. He even delivered it to the gallery before he left for the evening. 

Artwork was laid out and hung, as sound filtered thru the speakers perfectly.  
One by one, everything aligned to make for a very productive day. 

…I do like all of this art work-job stuff…even the unexpected things seem right on. 







60 elements with old black things

Monday afternoon I peek into the gallery and see Joe Willie setting up his exhibition. I enter and take the view in…a circular work hangs on the center wall and other sculptural works lean on side walls. I see tools and a scaffold…serious business, I think. Something very whimsical catches my eye. I walk over to it. Joe Willie has a sound loop going thru the speakers. He turns it off to show me the full sculpture. I don’t connect what he is doing for a bit. He starts to jab…pluck, pluck, poke, tap, tap, tap…and the space is filled with sounds, vibrations…beat, rhythm.  Though I know he is playing and enjoying this object, he is also serious and thoughtful with it. My drawing class awaits but…I am taken in for a moment…time stands still here.
I pause, I listen. I look at the object, and catch its movement.  I look at Joe Willie’s hands and catch their movement. I connect the movement to the sound. I feel privileged, that in the busyness of my day, I have this very unusual and very cool, behind the scenes, art experience.

He explains what he plans to do, but in that planning is a lot of fluidity. I can’t imagine working the way he works…with the ease he seems to have.  I tell him how I am impressed that he can pull it all together this final one week, and he smiles and tells me he’s been pulling it all together for years and years. I understand and I respect the clarification. 

I look forward to the opening…seriously whimsical…is how I might describe Joe Willie’s work.

The Eric Fischl Gallery, at Phoenix College, opens its first exhibition of the Fall season next week. If you haven’t visited this new, state of the art space, now is the time. Artist, and adjunct professor Joe Willie Smith, invites you to come and experience his work. Included in the exhibit will be sculpture, sound and video.



Who:                 Joe Willie Smith

What:                Solo Exhibition 
                            60 Elements with Old Black Things

Where:             Eric Fischl Gallery
                            Phoenix College, Fine Arts Building, 2nd floor
                            1202 W Thomas Rd Phoenix, AZ 85013

When:               Opening Reception September 10th, 4pm – 8pm 

Joe Willie Smith writes….
I’ll be sixty years old in September, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to take a look at my life as an artist and some of the events that have occurred along the way.
This exhibit will be part retrospective, part chronology with a few new pieces. 
I continue to work with found resources, I’m starting to paint again, but still enjoy multi-media work.
My journey as an artist has carried me from the Civil Rights Movement to our first African-American President.
This exhibit gives me a wonderful opportunity to reflect on events both personal and societal that have occurred
during my time.
My work is in the collections of The Phoenix Art Museum, The Butler Museum of American Art, Neiman Marcus Corporation, Gannett -The Arizona Republic, Taller Experimental De Grafica (Cuba) and many personal collections throughout the U.S.

For more information call 602-285-7277. 
The exhibition runs through September 25th.

602/480/623: locals only

so…I plan to stay focused on making and exhibiting work this summer. No lectures, no workshops. Choosing…to wear my studio artist mask…that’s all-right for now.

La Persona

La Persona, mm media intaglio print, 2009













I mentioned the traveling exhibition Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement will be on view at the Phoenix Art Museum. The opening party is scheduled for Saturday, July 11.  And opens to the public on July 12th. From soft sculpture full-size cars made from colorful vinyl to photographs of a break dancing performance on a flat floor sculpture by Minimalist artist Carl Andre, Phantom Sightings explores the experimental tendencies of a younger generation of contemporary American artists with cultural ties to Mexico and Latin America. The works included in the exhibition are orientated less toward traditional media such as painting and sculpture, and more toward conceptual art, performance, photography, media-based art and “stealthy” artistic interventions in urban spaces.

Sara Cochran plans a local component to run in conjunction with this main exhibition, titled  602/480/623: Locals Only. She has visited studios and has chosen 10 area artists and their works. Five of my mixed media prints will be presented. As well as the works of 9 other artists including Annie Lopez, Melissa Martinez, Hector Ruiz,  and Martin Moreno. For those of you that might not know, the numbers 602/480/623 are area phone prefixes. This local component is not meant to be in response to the main exhibit. It is meant to run concurrently so as to provide an interesting context in which the work can be experienced. 

My series of intaglio prints that will be on view are all new works. They are hand painted, include text, and in some cases are altered with collage. Materials include ink, casein, egg tempera, graphite and crayon. They are small, intimate self-portraits that concern themselves with the complexities of being human, being female, being American of Mexican ancestry, being a physical body and having a busy mind (that prefers to be quiet). Most especially, the prints deal with being a creative spirit who questions experiences, perceptions and beliefs…my own and others. I do so with some philosophical ease and visual humor. I want to incite others to do the same. As usual the work is inspired by the basic questions I move thru life asking …Who am I?  What am I? What is this world? And what is my relationship to it?

the shirt shop


Kaori Takamura, One Truth

Kaori Takamura, One Truth

Kaori Takamura is a 2007 recipient of a Contemporary Forum Artists Grant. I first saw her work in 2006 at the Steele Pavilion Art Gallery, in the Herberger Theater. I was drawn to her images, which I thought had a very graphic quality. They included large canvases of brightly sewn numbers and letters. Her technique, appeared playful, rich and complex.  In 2008 she had her first solo at eye lounge. 

About the work then Kaori said, You know I paint numbers, which represent ‘direction of life’. In our modern life, we are overwhelmed by so many goods, and things, and information everyday.  You get lost and flounder. My numbers series hints at the viewer to step back to the basics of  life,  to feel the most simple of things, and to experience the zen-like passage of time.


SEWN/Shirt M.I., Kaori Takamura

Her second solo, a new series of works titled The Shirt Shop will open at eye lounge this month.
She speaks of her current work, The Shirt series can be seen as the portraits of individuals’ lives and journeys. The letters, numbers and images used in these works can be seen as the memories of ones life.
And about her process
, I use actual dress patterns to construct each separate part of the work shirts.  I cut and paint each part separately and sew them together afterwards. I also apply selected colored threads which represent life’s tangled thoughts.  
I will be showing my Shirt series with plaster molded shirts, displayed on shelves, like a virtual shirt shop.  

The shirts are stunning to look at, in person. Drop by the gallery and experience them for yourself.
For more about the artists work visit her web-siteKaori lives in Carefree, AZ. 
For directions to the Phoenix gallery and more info about Kaori and her exhibit visit the 
eye lounge web-site .