Jim Modiano

Before he was an artist, Jim Modiano was a biologist with a Ph.D. Then, in 1992, he began painting the orderings and re-orderings of the complex environments that he saw through the lens of a microscope and in nature.

Modiano's paintings and collages visually demonstrate the chaos, complexity and rhythmic orders of the world around him. Interrelationships among carefully chosen shapes, sizes and colors are achieved sometimes by improvisatory composition, and other times by a strategy he calls "tossing." Multiple tossings – sometimes as many as 20 – emphasize multiple random possibilities. Without looking, Modiano drops cut-out forms of card stock paper, already painted in different colors, onto a painted canvas or sheet of paper, over and over again, until he selects one of the chance arrangements and glues the forms down where they fall.

Jim Modiano's research in the field of cellular biology changed his perspective on the world, and prepared him to make art that makes visible universal systems of organization. The ever-changing associations and congruencies that fill the pictures produce a powerful sense of internal energy.

Modiano explains: "At one level, I develop relational compositions to underscore the interactions of parts that define and characterize the biotic world. In nature, everything is dependent on everything else. At another, I am striving to imbue the work with a feeling of complexity and self-organization, something tangible that a viewer can pick up on. This is especially so in the tossed paintings where the concepts and the means of actualization are one."

The modernist tradition of abstract, color painting is Jim Modiano's artistic heritage. Using deeply saturated hues; he has developed a distinctive, off-key palette. His dynamic color choices and combinations, like his compositions, are informed by visual principles of organization that he perceives in nature. Constructive in the manner of their making, Modiano's paintings are optimistic.

The paintings' complexity also evokes an active optical response in the viewer. The color patterns, interplay of forms, and multiple configurations come together, shift and dissolve. Jim Modiano makes images of such conditions as interdependence and potential, stasis and flux, order and chaos that he sees as the fundamental operating forces of nature. He creates beautiful pictures that celebrate the complexity of life.

Miranda McClintic ©
New York, NY March 2002


© copyright 2017, Jim Modiano