Tag Archives: contemporary art

Converging Trajectories: Crossing Borders, Building Bridges Exhibition


http://tedgdecker.com  (Click on Independent Curator tab)


Ted G Decker Facebook page (photo album with exhibition title)


Intersecting Paths, Blurring Lines

Converging Trajectories: Crossing Borders, Building Bridges is an invitational group exhibition of works by 42 artists I have encountered through travel and ongoing research. Each is on a personal trajectory in pursuing a career as a visual artist. My own trajectory of reinvention began three years ago as I transitioned into starting and building my art consulting enterprise. Through me there is an intersection of paths that marks a moment in our histories. With their participation in this exhibit, the artists become connected with one another and with viewers from the Phoenix area and elsewhere who visit Modified Arts during the exhibition. Most of the artists are from Arizona and Brazil with others from Brooklyn, Buenos Aires, Charlotte, Chicago, Mexico City, and San Francisco. The vast majority of the artists started producing work during the past 10-15 years in times of rapid technological advancement, increasing globalization albeit polarization, and the end and beginning of centuries and millennia. Of the 42 artists in the exhibition, 21 are currently based in Brazil making this the most ambitious showing of contemporary art from Brazil in Phoenix and the Southwestern United States.

With rapid-fire changes, and especially with the rampant development and use of technology, social networks, and cheaper air travel, our own worlds continue to both expand and contract exponentially. More than ever before, we are able to recognize that the people of Earth strive for similar things in life and share dreams for the future. Artists made the works in this exhibition in response to personal, social, political, and economic issues of the human condition thereby blurring mapped nationalistic and cultural boundaries.

The art and exhibition concept are more relevant than ever in Arizona and the United States through the lenses of globalization, shifting populations, economic volatility, and human rights and dignity. The artworks are as diverse in content as in the origins and experiences of the artists who made them. Unbelievably, it is still easier for art to cross lines drawn on political maps than it is for many of the art makers to obtain visas for travel to Phoenix for the exhibition opening. This is especially true for artists living in the Americas south of us.

A major goal for this exhibit is to provide Arizona viewers with fresh and vital art for multi-faceted viewing, interpretation, and enjoyment during seemingly endless, hot summer days and vituperative political and social debates. Another is to provide opportunities for the artists in the exhibition and in our community to see their work in a broader context and different arena than they may have previously.   

I am assembling the art, bringing it to Phoenix, and providing opportunities for people to connect with art and artists, many of whom are showing their work in the United States for the first time. Information about the exhibition is being broadcast from Phoenix to people around the world through the use of technology, thereby making it possible to be interconnected across political, language, social, and cultural borders.

Building bridges through lively discussions of themes relating to art and culture, rather than subjects like politics and religion, allows us to establish common ground for understanding others and improving our lives and those of others in our community and beyond. This exhibition requests viewer response to and reflection about the art and offers interconnection and understanding between people while abating fear of the other or the unknown.

Ted G. Decker

August 2010

This exhibition is made possible by support from Kim Larkin and Adam Murray/Modified Arts and Ted Decker Catalyst Fund.* In-kind support was provided by Chico Fernandes (Rio de Janeiro), Bill Fielder/Bill’s Custom Frames, Joe Jankovsky, Lisa MacCollum/Lisa Mac Studio, Paul Jacques, and to Verónica Villanueva and Brent Bond.

Special thanks to each of the participating artists, Justin P. Germain, those who made the journey to Phoenix for the opening, Valber Silva, (Niterói, Brazil), and to the following galleries for their support: in Recife, Galeria Mariana Moura; in Rio de Janeiro, A Gentil Carioca, Amarelonegro Arte Contemporânea, Anita Schwartz Galeria de Arte, Galeria Artur Fidalgo, and Laura Marsiaj Arte Contemporânea; and in São Paulo, Novembro Arte Contemporânea and Zipper Galeria.

 *The Ted Decker Catalyst Fund is affiliated with MARS, Inc., a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 educational organization committed to arts advocacy and education through its programming. Donations are encouraged and graciously accepted.

Toward a New Community: Uniting Separate Paths


We all follow our own path and, by design of fate or coincidence, individual paths cross those of others.  Converging Trajectories: Crossing Borders, Building Bridges is one of those intersections.  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 artist.  Thoughts and ideas create a dialogue.  Inferences are made.  Connections become clear.  The experience of the exhibition unifies and defines the constructed community.

Each of the works serves as a window into the artist’s complex relationship with our world.  They have constructed their visual language from personal experiences derived from views both unique and shared.  They each interpret existential and cultural anxiety, clash and engagement between cultures, socio-economic realities within communities, cultural integrity, and self-affirmation.  But they all express personal views unique to the people they represent.  The act of bringing together various people hints towards a human community, not by promoting a universal concept of culture, but instead by celebrating diversity.

Because it is unrealistic to define contemporary art with any degree of finality Converging Trajectories serves as a glimpse into test cases of evocative global art.  These instances of originality and experimentation intersect in the exhibition, and from within the interstices between cultures, a complex community develops and further shrinks our world by breaking down liminal boundaries.


Justin P. Germain

August 2010


Carolyn Lavender: New Journal Paintings

In the Journal series, Phoenix-based visual artist Carolyn Lavender clearly reveals her ample technical expertise and visual curiosity in a celebration of the elegance of mark making and the line. Forty of the initial 50+ works in the series were exhibited at Modified Arts, Phoenix, in March-April, 2009. These new works also demonstrate the latest leap forward in a career trajectory that has sustained momentum since 2001. At that time, also at Modified Arts (owned/directed by Kimber Lanning), Lavender lassoed viewer and critical response with an exhibition that revealed her reaction and frustration with the 2000 national election results. She also showcased her competence in working with a wide spectrum of art making techniques including a mesmerizing large-scale grid of mixed media self-portraits, as well as with itaglio prints and Polaroid transfers with her likeness.

Lavender works from her journals, an activity she began at age 14 and a passion she vigorously pursues. By the early 1990s, her journal collages had become more involved, and by 2005 they began to inform her art making. With acute visual literacy, she has produced an exquisite group of small works that are drawings of collaged journal pages. She does not consider her journals to be art, describing them as “completely free of self-censorship” in terms of what is appropriated adn manipulated. The opened pages of her journals immediately commandeer the viewer, resulting in a feast for the eyeballs and a voyeuristic stirring evoked by the opportunity to gaze at intimate evidence of memories and experiental impressions and thoughts. They reveal richly ornate, imaginative, and surreal collages of print imagery appropriated from personal photos and from a diverse scope of readings and research both in art history and in contemporary culture. Written journal entries fill the negative space around the collages.

Lavender is a passionate collector of images with thousands laid out on tables in her studio and then stored in boxes and folders for safekeeping. In order to show a diary/sketchbook-type effect, she maintains the exact scale of the journal collages by tracing the images onto canvas panels. She alternates between illuminating the images of specific journal pages and assembled imagery reconfigured from multiple pages. Any narrative content is an intuitive, autobiographical by-product of imageery previously collected.

To see images of a select number of paintings, click on the link below: