MinXus Mail Bag: New Asemics-Vispo by Nancy Bell Scott (South Portland, Maine, USA)

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Mail art by Nancy Bell Scott (South Portland, Maine, USA)

Nancy Bell Scott is not as prolific as many of her contemporaries; so when she issues a new batch of her totally distinctive asemics-vispo, it is a special occasion indeed. We thank her profusely for being so generous in this recent mailing. The three pieces above are painted on thick, textured paper and measure approximately 3 X 6 inches. They are wonderful examples of Nancy Bell Scott’s complex, abstract expressionist-derived style. Chuck Welch aka the Cracker Jack Kid is among those who have noted Nancy’s roots in abstract expressionism. Two of the pieces have material on the reverse sides:

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Nancy Bell Scott’s abstraction and calligraphy combine to create beautiful and complex explorations at the borderland of visual image and text. Her very recognizable asemic writing at first seems like chicken scratches that vary in intensity, yet the overall result is deeply expressive. As one learns to “read” her work, the vision and possibilities open. She also included larger work that arrived enclosed in a transparent, paint spattered folio:

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And the reverse:

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Beneath the cover we find vispo rooted in collage:

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Another consistent aspect of Nancy Bell Scott’s work is her use of found material from the Age of Print. In the context of her asemic-vispo, the receiver is often guided into a meditation on language, image and expression. Her choice of text that is distressed and/or damaged suggests decay and disintegration, which functions both tonally and thematically. The childlike, scrawled writing in the piece above mirrors Nancy’s all-to-human scratchings, alludes to marginalia and contrasts with the industrially produced publications she also uses. Ultimately, her work favors and in places celebrates the human in contrast to the mechanized world, which is often appears sinister in her work like William Blake’s signification of the industrial revolution as “satanic mills.” That said, there is also a sadness or nostalgia for the “old culture” of the Age of Print, even while its absurdities and discontinuities are revealed.

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Initially, we wanted to begin by calling Nancy Bell Scott the Emily Dickinson of asemic vispo. She certainly has a place in the “new wave” of asemic writing that has circulated through the Eternal Network in the past several years even if she is not as well known as some of her contemporaries. That place has been attained through her experimentation, hard work and development of a style and a body of work. The Dickinson comparison is flawed, of course, and intentionally grandiose in order to make a point; it also references Nancy’s New England, USA location. However, Nancy Bell’s Scott’s poetic vision is in the Dickinson-existential tradition and the comparison does provide an access point. Her work continues to evolve and she delights her audience with each new wave.

The envelope is also very attractive:

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And the reverse:

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As ever, our deepest appreciation goes to Nancy Bell Scott!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Terry
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 19:41:29

    Nancy Bell Scott’s work is beautiful and expressive. I will be coming back many times to view it both for a visual treat as well as inspiration.


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