Jeffrey Alan Scudder
Imaginary Screenshots
May 13 - June 25, 2017
At Leadapron

Curated and organized by Lisa Marie Pomares


JEFFREY ALAN SCUDDER (b. 1989, Massachusetts) has taught at UCLA and Parsons The New School for Design, and worked previously at the design studio Linked by Air. He received an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University School of Art in 2013.


Whitcher Projects and LEADAPRON present Imaginary Screenshots, the first solo exhibition by artist and programmer Jeffrey Alan Scudder. The show brings together drawings, prints, pastels, watercolors, and digital paintings: pictures which illustrate Scudder’s gestural imagination, shaped by the past and present of digital computing yet not fixed to any one medium.

Notice the signatures in the works of Imaginary Screenshots, sometimes bold and sometimes obscured. Scudder repurposes his own initials as JAS [Just Another System]. The acronym applies to the embodied information that the pictures contain, which, as they form a trajectory become their own database. Notice the numbers—they are timestamped metadata, sometimes containing geospatial coordinates of the locations in which the drawing was completed. This data situates each piece as a node in a larger, networked organism.

Pareidolia is the perceptual tendency to animate the inanimate—seeing familiar configurations like human faces in seemingly random abstractions or patterns. Scudder’s pictures blur the line between this cognitive inclination to find representation, like a machine learning system, and the whimsical magic of mark-making. The artist’s aesthetic language reflects his versant creation of digital painting tools, each with customized constraints often informed by the vocabulary of game design. The work employs affordances—parameters, which build the scaffolding for how a designed object can be interacted with.

Underlying this work is a clever, visual candor in the casting of recurrent motifs like the flower or the face, who become game pieces in the artist’s immersive and pictorial sandbox. These figures are not so much symbols as they tap the emotivity involved in revisiting the software that the artist used for adolescent experimentation with computers as he came of age in the 1990s. Scudder evokes and customizes such programs with elegant fluency, to explore the radical possibilities of digital painting. The exhibition revives the conversation about how picture-making has always relied on and challenged contemporaneously available tools and technologies.

-Dorothy Howard