specific sightings

Ted G Decker calls Specific Sightings a micro art exhibit  He’s co-curated it with Salman Al Wastey for Echo Coffee, Scottsdale.  The exhibit encourages its audience to go beyond the act of just looking at something to really SEEING it. The art in this exhibition represents art “sightings” across cultures by Ted and Salman who come from two different cultures but who share a passion for the visual arts.

 Najlaa Al Ramahi
(born Baghdad, Iraq; lives, works in Amman, Jordan)
Red Evening
Acrylic on canvas
9.84 x 11.81”

Paulo Santos
(lives, works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Venus Brasileira: versão descobrimento do Brasil –
Brazilian Venus: Discovery of Brazil Version
Acrylic on canvas
51 x 71″

Andrea Sherrill Evans
(lives, works in Boston, MA)
The Tree #2
Silverpoint and watercolor on prepared paper
30 x 22”

Decker: For this exhibit, we selected 13 artists, multi-cultural in their origins and residencies and diverse in their art making practices, to share the bond of exhibiting together, thereby building cultural bridges between them and the conservatively estimated 36,000 people who have the opportunity to view the art during its 4-month installation at Echo Coffee.

Karolina Sussland
(lives, works in Phoenix)
Young Attractive Woman Eating Salad(from Stock Photos series)
Ink Jet print
10 x 8.5″

Mohammad Javaheri
(born Tehran, Iran; lives, works in Tempe)
After the Rain
Monotype on paper
28 x 22”

Ann Morton
(lives, works in Phoenix)
Crime Scenes
Crocheted crime scene tape, 5 homeless participants, one week
24 x 66″ (each mat flat) – 24 x 9 x 9″ (each mat rolled)

Within this group of 13 artists are people from Boston, Irvine, CA, Salt Lake City, and the Phoenix area in the United States, from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, from Baghdad, Iraq (now living in Amman, Jordan and Irvine, California), and Tehran, Iran (now living in Tempe).

Al Wastey: “The most important means of expression for man’s humanity are the senses, so art is one of the most important means by which he/she expresses the human senses. So there will be a number of artists from America, Iraq, Iran and Brazil, brought together by one language, the language of art.”

Anthony Siciliano
(lives, works in Salt Lake City, UT)
Playing the Fool
Mixed media on paper
22.5 x 15”

Jaber Al Saria
(born Baghdad, Iraq; lives, works in Irvine, CA)
The Harvest
Oil on wood
19.69 x 19.69”

Felipe Baenninger
(lives, works in São Paulo, Brazil)
Futebol (from Jardim Dabril series)

Carolyn Lavender
(lives, works in Phoenix)
Journal 18, 2008 (from Journal series)
Acrylic, graphite on canvas panel
12″ x 12

Monica Aissa Martinez
(lives, works in Phoenix)
The World Stage, a play in finite acts
Casein and egg tempera on canvas
30 x 28”

WHAT:  SPECIFIC SIGHTINGS, a micro exhibition

WHO: co-curated by Ted G. Decker and Salman Al Wastey
for Echo Coffee

WHERE:  2902 N 68th Street, Suite 135, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(location map)

WHEN: January 27, 2012 thru May 31, 2012

Drop by Echo, have a cup coffee, and enjoy artwork. This is only a sampling of what you will experience when you’re there.

For the better part of the last 20 years, Decker, an art consultant and independent curator based in Phoenix and in Rio de Janeiro, has advocated for artists and art in various ways, one of which has been hanging art in coffee houses and alternative venues including new car dealerships and restaurants. Art that may be “threatening” or a mystery in a more formal setting like a gallery or museum can be viewed in a more relaxed and open minded way in a place like a coffee house or restaurant.

Salman is originally from Baghdad, Iraq. He now resides in Phoenix. He is a noted art critic, a writer about art and poetry, and curator.

Note: All artwork is available for purchase. Start or add to your collections and enhance your living and work environments. For more info visit  Decker’s website.
See all the images and prices on Facebook, in an album SPECIFIC SIGHTINGS

phoenix institute of contemporary art (phICA) launches march 18th @ modified arts

As its inaugural project, phICA is pleased to present Arma Branca, an installation of ceramic objects by São Paulo, Brazil-based visual artist Laerte Ramos in his first solo exhibition in the United States.

Laerte Ramos, Arma Branca, Installation at Emma Thomas Gallery, Sao Paolo, Brazil


I first saw Laerte Ramos’ work in Brazil in 2010 and was drawn to it on several levels, curator Ted Decker says in response to my asking why he’s chosen Ramos’ work to launch phICA. He continues…One, when I saw the installation of objects from a distance on the wall, I was reminded of my own passion for collecting, arranging, showing, thinking about relationships between art works in my own home. The way the objects are installed looks like a collection of curiosities at first. Secondly, as one moves towards the art, the fact that they are shapes of guns is a surprise, and this made me more interested as to what Laerte was signifying, voicing. Third, as an Arizonan, it is difficult not to bring the cultural influence of guns to the work. While my intention is not to politicize this exhibit, what I like about it is that it forces personal response and interpretation, a seminal element of good contemporary art. It is work that I had trouble finding a venue for because of people’s interpretations of the work. Fourth, Laerte is a visual artist and does not peg himself as a ceramist. It is one of his materials, medias of choice in his overall liberated formal practice. He uses it to make objects, installations, and to be destroyed in performances. You know how I don’t like and try to resist labels and so I liked the idea of showing this work for that reason. In this exhibition, nothing is black or white –arma branca, though it translates from the Portuguese literally as white weapons, actually refers to daggers, swords, weapons that are not fired like guns are. Ceramic crumbles easily but in this work is used to represent objects made of steel.

Laerte Ramos anti-derrapante série camuflados 2010

I know Jon Haddock’s Isometric Screenshots will also be shown and I ask Ted how Haddock’s work connects. phICA and Modified are collaborating, Ted explains. There are 2 separate exhibitions going on in one space….trying something new, innovative, collaborative, lean and mean, more bang for buck which we in the arts must all think about.

New, innovative, collaborative….lean and mean… it’s why I’m sharing it. See you there.

Jon Haddock, Isometric Screenshots, Tiananmen Square (Beijing, 1989), 2000, digital image

The inaugural project for Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art (phICA) will be Laerte Ramos: Arma Branca curated by Ted G. Decker in a community partnership with Modified Arts. This will be the first solo exhibition for Ramos, a São Paulo-based artist with a rapidly rising international reputation will attend. Concurrently at Modified Arts is a separate exhibition

Source Code featuring artists Jon Haddock, Jason Rorher, Carlo Zanni, and Paolo Pedercini who have used the integration of video game imagery in the digital age as a form to reflect on the nature and events of our current society.

In collaboration between phICA and Modified Arts, the two exhibits will be accompanied by a four-color handout featuring information about phICA, an essay about Ramos’s work by Daniela Name, an independent curator and art writer based in Rio de Janeiro, a text by Kim Larkin about Jon Haddock’s work, and color images of each artist’s work.

Who: phICA in collaboration with Modified Arts

What: Laerte Ramos: Arma Branca curated by Ted G. Decker
Source Code curated by Kim Larkin

Where: Modified Arts
407 E. Roosevelt
Downtown Phoenix

When: Opening Reception Friday, March 18th   6:00 – 9:00 pm
(Third Friday/Art Detour weekend)

What else: The exhibition continues through April 10th.
Laerte Ramos will attend the opening and will give a special tour of the exhibition at a “Meet and Greet” Community Roundtable on Saturday, March 19th at the gallery starting at 2:00 pm.
In addition, phICA and Shemer Art Center and Museum present Sunset at Shemer Happy Hour featuring Laerte Ramos on Thursday, March 17th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

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