It is surprisingly delightful and sweet to view nature through Spencer Finch’s eyes. Finch works with exceptionally unnatural materials, such as Pantone color chips and frosted glass, to help the viewer relive their experiences in the wilderness and the result is lovely and serene.
The works on display at James Cohen Gallery include three installations as well as a number of works on paper. The largest installation, Thank You, Fog, consists of 85 glass panels across the length and nearly the height of the room. The hanging glass panels are suspended in such a way as to make them appear weightless. Spatial perception is a crucial element here. As the spectator walks around the installation their view of the rest of the room is always partially obscured. This lends to the feeling of quiet isolation that one might experience during a misty morning hike. Thank You, Fog consists of nothing more than grey painted walls and frosted glass but it feels powerful in its subtlety.
Another charming installation in the show, Yellowstone Hike (from Lily Pad Lake to Artist’s Point), is Finch’s visual record of a day in Yellowstone this past August. The installation consists of 340 Pantone color chips affixed directly to the wall. The height of the chips change to reflect the increasing elevation of the hike. Following the color chips feel like reading cliff notes of a day well spent.
At a time where many artists and galleries are celebrating more glitter, more paint, and more kitsch Spencer Finch’s show is a refreshing surprise.