Module Art

diamond-in-whiteModule Art is designed to relate to any size space, and harmonize with any setting, due to its ability to be combined, and recombined endlessly, in new geometric patterns, and in the case of interactive module art, in re-arranged images.

Above is the whole configuration of one Berkeley Bowl West module art painting, a commission I completed in July of 2009. Below are images of some of the 107 separate triangular paintings, each of which is 3 feet by 3 feet.  The paintings are oil on canvas on wood.  This structures them so that when attached to one another they remain solidly connected in geometric configurations.

Module art evolved out of my need as an artist to paint in many different styles, and still generate a feeling of coherence.  It celebrates diversity in this way.   The energy symbol language developed over a period of thirty years, while the modular system took about twenty years to develop.

Interactive Module Art was installed in the cafe of the Berkeley Bowl West. Viewers are encouraged to lift the individual painted images and turn them over to another image on the back. They may then replace the image where it was or move either painted side to a new location on the painted surface.  This allows the viewer to co-create with the artist.  My intention here is to dissolve the feeling of difference between artist and observer.

Interactive-whole Interactive module art makes yet another point. Each viewer sees a painting that they are allowed to re-compose. In the same manner, the composition that they came upon was re-composed by another viewer.  This means that each viewer sees a unique painting that has never been seen before.  To me, Interactive Module Art celebrates the realization that we each live not always in a shared universe, but in a universe of our own perception and therefore our own creation. The connection between ourselves and the “outside” world takes place only when we open our hearts to whatever is before us. Philosophically, this allows me to express that life is a way of teaching us all to become receptive to what stands before us, and playfully interact with it. I attempt to use painting to teach that to myself and hopefully to others as well.

Below are a number of images from the main building of  Berkeley Bowl West.


Here I tried to give a sense of greater context to what we find in the marketplace, including the cosmos itself, the sun,the tomato fields,  the one operating the pallet machine in the loading zone, and the process of growing out of the earth into the sunlight.


The fish department gave me a chance to turn the triangles into hexagons, and the hexagons into the illusion of a three dimensional wooden box of fish.  This feeling of origami gives any viewer who takes a few seconds to gaze at it a moving show that seems to flip in and out of three dimensional reality.

The dairy department also used smaller triangles that were of two different depths. The silver triangles were six inches deep, while the modules having color were two inches deep. To me this symbolized the volume of the void. To me, the void is filled with potential energy. It is nearly bursting with possibilities. The energy symbols scribed into the texture of the silver, voluminous triangles symbolize those things that are not yet manifested.

Contractors Philip Ronquillo and Freddy performed astounding feats on a thirty foot boom. Mastering the complex piece of machinery in a matter of seconds, Philip and Freddie  worked twelve hours straight into the night to make sure that the paintings were secured perfectly.  Manouvering the boom sometimes from the room before where the boom actually was, through isles of bottles of wine and oils, to me gives him a medal of courage.  I was astounded by the skill these two men possessed.

Ross Drago