The first time I saw Jordan Scott’s works of art saturated with thousands of mailing stamps I was reminded of my own childhood days. My father used to collect stamps from around the world. As a child, I remember sitting by his side while browsing the pages of his many stamp collection books. I had my favorite ones I loved to see over and over. My father used to give me a magnifying glass so I could see his collection more closely. The magnifying glass had the enchanted effect of transporting me inside the story illustrated on each stamp. Through a small piece of glass, a new world opened up inside my mind.
Some 30 years later, technology has changed the way we see and understand the world. It has altered the way we communicate with one another and the speed at which communication takes place. The result of greater speed is an increase in the volume of information coming our way. Jordan Scott’s stamp-based works parallel our current reality for its multitude of repeating images that saturate our everyday life. From social media to mobile media, thousands of images travel through the massive web of interconnected devices that manage to arrive into our daily lives. It is no longer the image of one stamp at a time that is easily accessible but thousands of them traveling continuously and simultaneously at rapid speed. Standing in front of Jordan Scott’s work, one encounters similar experience of overwhelming repetitive content. Instead of creating confusion and chaos, his works present a strangely harmonious impression of organization and structure that converts an otherwise chaotic world into an orderly one.
At a distance, Jordan Scott’s works reveal themselves as geometric abstract paintings. However, at close inspection, the “painting” actually lacks any stroke of paint. Instead, every color, shape, tonality, line, texture and form is created by the repetitive act of meticulously gluing thousands of stamps in a geometric structure. Jordan Scott is an artist whose fascination for repetitive and meditative processes has come to replace paint itself. Weaved, layered and encapsulated behind a coat of clear resin, each stamp in Scott’s work occupies a minuscule yet significant position within the work. In the process, the artist holds the role of mathematician, architect, and scientist by gathering, mapping, calculating, designing and constructing a micro universe within the context of a macro one. Beyond the lustrous surface of the resin that separates us from the stamps, lays a web of interconnected segments. Each piece repeats itself a number of times to form a visual pattern. Beyond this arrangement exists the individual illustrations and images for each stamp design. The individual untold story behind each stamp exemplifies the mysterious DNA information found in all living things. At each level, a new layer of micro cosmos reveals itself.
Jordan Scott’s color selections and pattern choices often resemble magnified sections of beautiful textile surfaces. It is the aggregate of millions of ink dots in the printing process of each stamp that creates a visually rich and colorful surface. Only an artist with a rigorous discipline to carefully orchestrate an individual piece can visualize and construct an organized whole. Discipline in this case also provides the artist with a unique understanding of time. These works cannot materialize themselves in a manner of a few hours. Instead, they are the product of weeks and months in the making. For the artist, time inside the studio may appear to move at a slower speed than outside of it just by the mere nature of the slow process of taking each stamp and placing it in its respective position. Yet, the end result is a frozen glimpse of a universe in rapid motion. Consequently, we experience a complex, layered world though the magnifying glass of the artist’s own point of reference within the universe we inhabit.
A very thoughtful and insightful essay!