Spencer Finch, Fathom
James Cohan Gallery New York, USA
May 2 - June 15, 2013
To “fathom” is to comprehend the essence of something colossal or ineffable by translating it into terms we can grasp. For more than twenty years, SPENCER FINCH’s practice addresses such a need to capture and frame experience. In site-specific installation as well as drawing and sculpture, Spencer Finch has combined scientific calibration and calculation with a romantic’s engagement with nature and faith in the limitless rewards of observation.
A fathom is also a unit of measurement approximately six feet in length that is used to measure the depth of water, and a key reference point for the exhibition. After learning about Henry David Thoreau’s 1846 survey of Walden Pond, in which the famed polymath performed soundings to determine the lake’s depth at 102 feet and debunk a popular myth that it was bottomless, Spencer Finch received permission from the Walden Pond State Reservation to take a boat on the lake and perform that seminal survey for the second time. Dropping rope into the pond, as Thoreau had, while also employing an electronic depth meter — combining old and new technology — Spencer Finch further measured longitude and latitude as well as color-matching the water at each sounding point.
The resulting work is a 120-foot long rope – the rope Spencer Finch used in the soundings, and the artist's description of the depth of Walden Pond. It serves as the physical record of the findings as well as an armature: paper tags for each of the approximately 700 soundings appear along the rope at their equivalent measure of depth along with their exact coordinates and a swatch of matched color, applied in watercolor. Neither entirely documentation nor sculpture, the long line may best be considered a drawing of Walden Pond.
The main gallery will include several other works delving into the idea of delineation, from continuous-line drawings of encircling vultures observed by the artist in Spain to abstract renderings of meteorological models used to predict weather patterns. Other new and recent works on view for the first time in New York address themes as varied as the color of the light on Mars, the breeze through Emily Dickinson’s bedroom window and the attempt to render wind through chalk pastel drawings of the movement of the curtains at Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famous pavilion in Barcelona.
SPENCER FINCH (b. 1962, New Haven, Connecticut) exhibitions and commissions on Wanafoto Blogzine: Spencer Finch installation Following Nature, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN (through August 25, 2013); Spencer Finch, I'll tell you how the Sun rose, Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, Sweden (2012); Spencer Finch, Lori Hersberger, Martin Oppel: Weather Report, Ecole Régionale des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, France (2010); Spencer Finch, Amabilis Insania, Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin (2010); Spencer Finch, In Praise of Shadows, Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin (2007-2008)...
Next exhibition at James Cohan Gallery, New York: Shi Zhiying, June - July, 2013
James Cohan Gallery New York
James Cohan Gallery's website: www.jamescohan.com