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.
Miranda McClintic ©
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.
New York, NY March 2002