Spencer Finch at James Cohan
The title of Spencer Finch’s show “My business is circumference” immediately lured me into the James Cohen gallery. The phrase is a quote from a letter Emily Dickinson wrote to Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
Once inside, I was mesmerized by the installation “Thank You, Fog” that is comprised of 85 glass panels suspended from aircraft cable in a room with grey walls. The square panels gently sway and rotate with the slight air movement in the space. The panels have various degrees of opacity and are hung at different heights and intervals. Looking into the fog, each vantage place through out the room offers a unique view.
Spence Finch – “Thank You, Fog” – 2016 – Installation
Pictures courtesy of the gallery and the artist
Finch’s creative practice utilizes precise tools of measure to explore natural phenomena and then creates art to express the experience. The mathematics of measuring weather for this installation required the use of light meters and anemometers. “Thank You, Fog” juxtaposes the ephemeral qualities of fog and mist with the geometric rigidity of the square planes of glass.
The exploration and study of pattern have been defining elements in the artistic practice of Michelle Grabner. One of the topics addressed through abstract patterning is the structures and geometries underlying weaving knitting and crocheting. Her current exhibition at the James Cohan Gallery features a large collection of her two-color paper weaving panels spread out flat on two pedestals in the gallery.
The vibrant contrasting colored papers used in the weavings give the viewer a clear impression of the grids and symmetries used in each of the weaving techniques. The gallery arrangement of having many next to each other and overlapping creates an exhuberant riot of color and pattern.
Grabner also creates paintings that uncover the intricate patterns created by knitting and crocheting. They are more subtle in color but incorporate more intense patterns.
MICHELLE GRABNER Untitled, 2014 Enamel on panel 50 x 48 x 1 1/2 in. (127 x 121.9 x 3.8 cm)
This painting on canvas is a depiction of a giant crocheted square. Removing any indication of color and focusing on the negative space, the 4-fold rotational symmetry becomes quite clear.
This exhibition at the James Cohan gallery reveals Grabner’s commitment to elevating the patterns and Mathematical geometries of what could be considered “woman’s work” to the realm of abstract art. By enlarging the weave patterns and limiting each panel to two bold colors they refer to both color field painting and Op-Art. The more subtle crochet and knit canvases transpose the needle work into a minimalist vocabulary. The field of historical craft traditions has proven fertile ground for the expression of mathematical form.
All pictures courtesy of the artist and the gallery.