I believe in the sanctity of life. I am motivated by what I perceive as our responsibility to preserve life and safeguard the environment that supports it. I strive to provide a vision of reality that is based on the dynamics of the natural world and is informed by the concepts of cooperation and interdependence.

Ecology teaches us that the biosphere is a vast web of interrelationships functioning across many scales and levels of organization. In nature we observe a self-ordering process wherein individuals, be them cells, organisms, or populations, develop complex networks of relationships. What is intriguing and of profound significance is that nature's networks form solely on the basis of the individuals' propensity to interact. They are self-organizing.

In my work, I manipulate colors and abstract shapes to develop relationships among the independent compositional elements. The visual relationships that arise initially guide the formation of more complex relationships. As I intensify the interactions, novel visual relationships emerge: colors shift in tone, shapes merge and reform, figure and ground freely interchange. The composition develops along a self-ordering principle. Chance and randomness drive it forward. But I rely on the self-organizing capacity of our visual system to do the rest.

I endeavor to bring the compositional elements to a point where they are poised between order and chaos, between a solid color field and confetti - a kind of teetering balance. This balance represents a critical condition where visual forms are unfixed, where ambiguity is high, and the composition remains in a constant state of flux. This dynamic visual space translates to an analogous space in the physical universe: for it is here at the border between order and chaos that self-ordering principles hold sway and complexity arises.

We, ourselves, are manifestations of self-organized complexity. We are the embodiment of the principles of cooperation and interdependence. Yet our collective behavior is out of sync with these essential features, features that define us and the world outside of us. We struggle to cooperate and to share, to safeguard our environment and its life forms. We are unwilling to recognize the strain our activities place upon nature.

Have we severed our connection to the world that creates and nurtures us? Yes, we have. I believe that we must re-cognize our relationship with nature, learning once again to see ourselves in the natural environment and to acknowledge our complete reliance upon natural systems. Can we then hope to gain an appreciation of the sanctity of life and finally, alter our destructive behavior? Yes, we can.

The challenge of reintegrating ourselves into the scheme of life demands a fundamental shift in consciousness. The premise of my art is straightforward: visual imagery that embodies self-organized complexity can stir us to wakefulness. Our self-organizing consciousness can recognize itself in the imagery and remember. And in remembering, we can rekindle a connection to the nature of our being - irreducible, interdependent, and an inextricable part of a much greater whole.

November, 2004



© copyright 2017, Jim Modiano