Chillag, 34, was born in Syracuse, New York, and studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, according to Modified’s press release. Like most of his generation, he was pulled equally by the tides of low and high culture, taking his artistic inspirations from underground comics and Renaissance masters. He found his muse in the sun-washed strip malls, subdivisions and freeways of Phoenix, painting unpopulated cityscapes that possess the same empty clarity that make the portraits in the show at Modified Arts so resonant Chillag mimics the impassivity of the cameras that dominate and anesthetize our culture. In doing so, he reveals an essential reality: To cope with the onslaught of visual information, we edit out the unimportant details of everything we see. We see so much that we have stopped noticing, in self-defense. This means we don’t look too closely at our mother’s face because it looks so much like the faces of all the mothers we’ve seen on TV commercials or in the movies. Sometimes Chillag apes this reflex and leaves out the details. Other times he makes us see what we don’t notice by painting, matter-of-factly, the stuff we unconsciously edit out. His untitled painting of an elderly man portrays the lines in his bifocal glasses, the age spot on his forehead, the tuft of hair in his ear. Life is unbelievably complex, and the proof is that when you freeze any part of it and look closely, you are stunned.’