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


random interference @ modified arts

Saskia Jordiá
Random Interference

Despite a little heat I make my way to Modified Arts Saturday afternoon. Phoenix – based Saskia Jordá and Los Angeles – based Chris Oatey are showing. This is the second exhibition I have dropped into since new director Jeff Cabot took over the space. The first show I saw was The End of the Wild. The title drew me in and the show itself carried a few extraordinary pieces. I met Jeff on that visit. His plans included showing Phoenix based as well as out-of-state artwork (my memory says California, but don’t hold me to that) for the downtown art gallery.

Modified’s current exhibition, Random Interference, combines two installation artists whose works compliment each other. There is most definitely a random energy to the exhibit. But the cohesiveness comes through visually in the unusual mix of materials, technique and quality of the work.

Eutropia (detail)
Felt, yarn, enamel, and wood
60″ x 42″ x 95″

I enter and am happy to see several Phoenix College art faculty. We all exchange greetings. Saskia makes her way to me. I learn she’s from Venezuela and I want to hear her speak Spanish. We exchange a few quick words. I ask Saskia about the new Textiles class she is teaching this semester. She responds in a lively manner and describes herself as an interdisciplinary artist who fits into non traditional, mixed-media sensibility. Some of her students come from more traditional backgrounds in weaving and fabrics. It’s good she says, I teach, they learn – they teach, I learn. 

I’ve seen her work before and I always leave it thinking she’s smart with her content, and confident with her material and form. I’m pleased to have a bit of time with her. She’s warm and approachable.

The piece below is my favorite in the show (detail above). The strung yarn balls feel so familiar. The color, texture and rhythm are strong elements, and the whimsy of the upper area is grounded by the layered solid felt base. I love the red wooden- climbing or descending – form in between, it stands separate and yet connects.

Eutropia, Saskia Jorda
In background Chris Oatey, Pour 1

About her art:
In a world where a six-hour airplane plane flight can transplant a person into a completely alien world, cultural identity is retained through rituals surrounding clothing, language, and food. Having relocated from my native Venezuela to the United States as a teenager, I became aware of the layers of ‘skin’ that define and separate cultures—one’s own skin, the second skin of clothing, the shell of one’s dwelling place—all these protecting the vital space of one’s hidden identity. As an interdisciplinary artist, my site-specific installations and performances map the tension between retaining one’s identity and assimilating a foreign persona, while referencing the body in a transitional space and as an alternate artifact.

Felt, wooden dowels, glue, and paint
42″ x100″ x 30″

Saskia Jorda was born in Caracas, Venezuela and received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She currently resides in Arizona.

Pour 1

Showing alongside Saskia is Chris Oatey. His largest installation Pour 1 lays out in the corner of the gallery. The base is cement. I like the use of materials and the title. The whole environment amuses me.

Chris Oatey
Pour One detail
mixed media (includes acrylic, paper, rope)

Random Interference, New Works by Saskia Jordá and Chris Oatey, will run at Modified Arts to Sept 14, 2012.

Gallery Info:
Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt St. Phoenix, AZ 85004
Open first & third Fridays, 6-9 pm, Saturdays 12-4pm, or by appointment.

Side note :
I stopped into eye lounge where I visited with Rebecca Ross who was installing her Katrina photographs. Next Tuesday is the 7 year anniversary.  The black and white photos are powerful work. The run is short, contact them for more info.
I also dropped into Five15 … fun.  If you didn’t catch the 5155 :: Member Invitational Group Show, sorry it closed yesterday.  Rumor has it they’ll do it again next year.

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