A great turnout for Opening Night at Firecat Projects in Chicago for the "Synchronicity" exhibition. Photos: with fellow artist Darren Jones and Michele Jahelka, Curator, and Stan Klein, Gallery Director.
Exhibition dates: January 27-February 18, 2017
Gallerist and Artist Extraordinaire Stan Klein in motion and putting the finishing touches on the "Synchronicity" exhibition at Firecat Projects in Chicago.
Synchronicity - The Art of Paper
In philately, this is considered a Cinderella stamp or any paper document resembling a stamp but not issued for official postal purposes. I discovered it in an otherwise unexciting box of miscellaneous worldwide stamps. The stunning imagery, including the predominant swastika and the subtle details of the barbed wire fence and imprisoned man, initially got my attention. The wonderful coloring also adds to the powerful effect of the stamp. From the minor amount of research I did, I learned that the writing is Portuguese and states: “if Hitler won, there would be no freedom”
Jim explained that the shells fired from the Sherman tanks would bounce right off the sides of the German Panzers and leave little more than a big black dent in the reinforced steel. “Bang! And that didn’t slow them down a bit,” he said. “We had to try and corner one, confuse him, with at least three or four of our tanks to every one of those bastards. It was the only way we could stop them. We had to maneuver around as fast as we could without getting blown-up until we got one into the right position with its front end directly towards one of us. Their front-end was the weakest spot on the whole tank. A good direct hit to the very front of a Panzer was the only way to penetrate those bastards.”
He continued. "Not only were our tanks lighter and quicker, but the first thing I’d do was take the governor off the engine block. The army put a governor on the carburetors on all the Shermans. It’s was supposed to keep us from running the diesel too hot and burning it out, blowing the engine completely. But most of us knew how to remove it. That way, when we needed the speed, we could get one of them really moving”
Jim was my manager at the local hardware store I worked at all through high school. He took a liking to me and would often take me aside to share his war stories. I felt honored and privileged that he did this.
“I think I once had one of them up to at least fifty-five miles per hour.” He thought for a moment. “The only problem was you only had a few minutes pushing it at those speeds. You had to get the job done and your ass out of trouble quick, then throttle down the engine or it would blow. Then you were really in trouble. If you blew the engine you were in real trouble. That’s what the engine governor was for, to keep us from blowing them out.”
And that governor always came off first thing on Jim’s tanks. First thing.
Interesting article on a beautiful Northport, Michigan, rehabbed cottage that I had the pleasure of visiting recently, featuring one of my large map pieces in the main room.
Northport’s Chetonka Cottage Rocks a Rustic Industrial Vibe
By Diane Kolak on June 1, 2016
I was pleased to visit his studio just up the road from the gallery during my last visit to Northport. Of course, I brought my camera to add to my ongoing “Artist Studios” photography series. Enjoy the new images of Tom's studio below. More from the "Artist Studios" series can be seen here.
Click here to see more images from this series.
Top row: "Chemistry" used U.S. postage stamps and resin on wood 10" x 10" x 10" 2016
Bottom row: "Shakespeare" used U.S. postage stamps and resin on wood 12" x 12" x 12" 2016
"With a love for unconventional materials, used out of context, Jordan Scott produces mesmerizing imagery through the repetition of postage stamps. He uses thousands of canceled U.S. postage stamps producing meditative surfaces that allude to communication and the interconnectedness of humanity. When seen from a distance, his technique produces beautiful surfaces of rich color, and as the viewer approaches the work, they are met with the surprising realization of unexpected intricacy."
Please read the rest of this interesting article on Chuck's Chicago Fine Art blog.
900 N Michigan Ave, 3rd & 4th floors
Chicago, IL 60611
Hours of operation:
Monday through Saturday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sundays 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Below: "Kettle Moraine", "Waiting for the Rain", "Ancients" and "Omnis" waiting to be hung at ARTSPACE8.
I am pleased to be a part of the "Mixed Media" show at Roan & Black Contemporary in Saugatuck, Michigan, with several other amazing gallery artists. If you are in the beautiful Art Coast of West Michigan area, please visit this show and also spend some time exploring their beautiful sculpture garden. This short drive makes a great day trip this time of year!
November 14 - through December
Roan & Black Contemporary
below right: with Judy at her last gallery show, Fall 2015
below left: "Twin Towers" used U.S. postage stamps and resin on canvas 60" x60" diptych 2006
Saturday, November 7, 6-9PM.
From Sidetracked Studio Blog:
"Sidetracked Studio is proud to present Undiscovered Species, an exhibition featuring doodles, drawings, collages, and paintings that reveal the obsessive and repetitive mania of their makers, all of whom happen to be Chicago-based artists. Rory Coyne is exhibiting a selection of nature based works that subtly detail the sublime repetition of leaves, trees, and endless skies. Coyne is a founding director at Sidetracked Studio. Lauren Levato Coyne presents new work in colored pencil on paper and maple panel including her “cluster drawings,” an ongoing series of insect wings that form swarming, irregular, flower-like shapes. Levato Coyne is a founding director at Sidetracked Studio. Julie Murphy invents and interprets new species of human/monster/office worker hybrids in her expressive and slightly manic drawings. With ink and markers Murphy transforms manila folders, legal paper, and sundry office materials into her own sort of taxonomic record of her crypto-creatures. Murphy earned a BFA degree in illustration from Art Center College of Design, as well as a BS degree in radio/television/film from Northwestern University which lead to years of diverse work experiences that fueled the desire to escape reality, in addition to supplementing a rainbow of character studies for drawings. Vito Desalvo presents work from his current series, International People in the Know, which contain his reflections on interpersonal relations in today’s world. He has chosen both fictitious and actual faces of real people in his life. The backgrounds suggest no clue as to place, identity or nature of the conversation. The artist only offers the finality of the implied statement. In some of the faces is a lingering hint of relating the knowing implication of their comments. Others possess only a sense of innocent use of common use phrases. Desalvo has made comments related to these pieces that all serious conversations eventually lead to a confirmed answer form of “no”. Jordan Scott presents his current series of collaged works inspired by the Jungian theory of the Collective Unconscious coupled with his many years of martial arts training and teaching. The series pays homage to his belief in the interconnectedness of the universe. While Scott uses many materials outside of their typical context his specific material is canceled U.S. postage stamps, typically using thousands of individual stamps to form what appear to be abstracted landscapes and color fields to create a sum greater than its parts."
Please click here to read the entire article with images.
A collector-turned-artist finds a mesmerizing new use for old stamps
When Jordan Scott bid on a mislabeled box at an estate sale a decade ago, he had no idea that its contents would redirect his course. An avid stamp collector since childhood, Scott opened the box to discover — with delight — that it contained thousands of U.S. postage stamps. After stowing the treasure in his Chicago-area studio, the mixed-media artist mulled over the artistic possibilities that lay in wait, eventually embedding a sheet of stamps into a painting a few weeks later.
Pleased with the effect, Scott began replacing paint with stamps over the course of the following year, until one evening he left his studio with his canvas covered in a grid of roughly 5,000 tiny squares. Intending to use the framework as a backdrop, Scott returned the next morning to a realization. The mosaic of geometric colors was too beautiful to cover. Ten years later, not a drop of paint has touched his canvases, and this almost accidental medium has led him to create four major bodies of work shown and sold in galleries across the country.
Growing up with a painter-sculptor father, Scott began drawing as soon as he could “hold a pencil”; he began his stamp collection, which now totals more than 12 major volumes, around the same time. Scott credits both his uncle — who was living in Cuba and would mail him bags of torn envelope corners — and trips to the stamp counter at Marshall Field’s department store as the foundation for his philatelic curiosity. As an adult, Scott has been passionate about collecting U.S. fancy cancels from the 1930s and earlier, fascinated with unusual hand-cancellation marks made from carved corks.
While he admits he’s recently stopped acquiring, Scott has specific criteria for the stamps that constitute his art. Preferring the color-saturated mono- and duotone printing techniques from the first half of the 20th century, he obtains thousands of multiples of the same stamp — at estate sales and auctions early on, and now mostly through online auction sites like eBay — in order to achieve specific tonal and textural patterns.
Every piece begins with a general palette and a loose pattern, which Scott first pencils onto the canvas. Applying stamps using industrial-strength glue comes next, followed by a topcoat of resin that hardens to a shiny finish. Each piece takes Scott roughly three weeks to complete, but the time frame increases as complexity — hand-cutting stamps into particular shapes, for example — is introduced. The artist works simultaneously on four easels mounted directly onto his studio walls, explaining that shifting between pieces helps his sanity, as he might otherwise drown in the repetitive process.
“I try to go with the flow and be intuitive,” Scott says about his creative process, “but [the pieces] are very rigid. That’s both a pro and a con, because I like control.” There’s a yin-yang quality to the precise panels, as there is to Scott: His lifetime of martial-arts training influences the structure and discipline he imposes upon the canvas. By establishing certain patterns as boundaries to work inside, Sensei Scott conjures order out of chaos, assimilating postage from various places and times into composed harmonies.
These works beg the question: Does Scott feel a twinge of guilt in “destroying” stamps for his art? As the types of issuances he uses are typically produced in huge quantities, rather than being rare specimens that are valuable to collectors, Scott has no misgivings. Rather, he hopes these pieces, born out of his desire to make art and an admiration for the beauty of stamp-making, will delight and provoke others, whether or not they appreciate stamps like he does. Plus, collectors have responded positively to the dazzling mosaics, he says. Though aware of the potential offense, they are touched by the way the individual works of art are carefully repurposed, even elevated.
In fact, this act of destruction (as some might see it) is actually a reincarnation: A new life for old stamps that asks us to appreciate not only the beauty, but the interconnectivity, that stamps symbolize. As objects shared both intimately through individual correspondence and publicly across geographies and generations, stamps are at once personal and universal. Scott recognizes this duality, claiming that the unifying power he feels exists between those yin-yang opposing forces — indeed, between all things past, present, and future — also exists in his pieces’ mandala-like qualities. Viewers meditating upon the almost-mathematical mazes can lose themselves in the thousands of parts that seamlessly form a whole.