Modesto CovarrubiasBerkeley, CA
I am driven to investigate the experience of space, and how a space can both alter and be altered by one’s mental state. In my practice an idea often starts as a simple sketch, developing into a small model or a more finely tuned sculpture that possibly becomes part of a large installation, leading to the production of a large-scale photograph, eventually taking shape as a series of drawings. This seemingly circuitous methodology enables me to explore various aspects of an idea, allowing a multifarious expression produced in different media. I have exercised some form of this methodology practically all of my life.
As a child I engaged in the activity of making forts, houses, and spaceships. I drew elaborate plans and maps, and used toys, clothes, and bedding to render my creations in two and three dimensions; from drawings of treehouses to constructing fortresses of solitude. The process of making such spaces was used to metaphorically transport myself somewhere else, as a fantastical escape from my present. Now I employ similar processes to portray and materialize my present-day emotions. While the materials I utilize are no longer toys, my work continues to originate with the same sense of experimentation and exploration.
Reflecting his background in architecture, Modesto Covarrubias’ work is an investigation into the physical, psychological, and emotional connection to environments. He works in a broad range of media including photography, painting, installation, printmaking, and performance. A Bay Area-native who lives in Berkeley and maintains a studio in Oakland, Covarrubias studied architecture at UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design, received a BFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, and in 2009 earned his MFA in Studio Art from Mills College in Oakland, California. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at such venues as the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, Galleria Civica in Modena, Italy, Photo New York 2005, the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, the Mills College Art Museum, and at the Poor Farm in Little Wolf, Wisconsin. His work has been featured at the Oakland Museum's Gallery 555 and at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.