Full Fathom Five

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
mogmogkukan, 2011 Embroidery Thread On Canvas 14 X 14 Inches © courtesy of the artist and Jenkins Johnson Gallery
California City, 2009 Oil On Canvas 48 X 48 Inches © courtesy of the artist and Jenkins Johnson Gallery
Full Fathom Five
Curated by: Courtney Johnson

521 West 26th Street
5th Fl
10001 New York
November 3rd, 2011 - December 23rd, 2011
Opening: November 3rd, 2011 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Other (outside areas listed)
Tue- Sat 10-6
Wired, Embroidery, Occupy Wall Street, digitization, Shakespeare, Full Fathom Five, mixed-media, digital, installation, graffiti/street-art, conceptual, figurative, sculpture


Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York is pleased to announce Full Fathom Five, an exhibition which examines a non-digital reaction to new visualizations of societal shifts. Artists featured include Nina Bovasso, Mairin Hartt, Takashi Iwasaki, Erin Kaczkowski, Tim Knowles, Lucinda Linderman, Nicola López, Sarah Mizer, Dawn Ng, James Norton, John Powers, Carol Prusa, Kathryn Van Steenhuyse, and Barbara Weissberger. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, November 3 from 6 - 8 pm. Full Fathom Five is guest curated by Courtney Johnson.
The exhibition title references Shakespeare’s Ariel’s song from The Tempest, and is also the title of a 1947 Jackson Pollock painting, a 1958 Sylvia Plath poem, and is used in Laurie Anderson’s “Blue Lagoon.”

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that does fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell.

In a September 2, 2011 interview, Fred Ritchin was quoted as saying:
Media has always needed correction. I always use a quote by Paul Stookey [of the singing group Peter, Paul and Mary] about popular magazines. They used to be called Life (about life), then it was People (not about life, but just about people), then it was Us (not even about all people, but just about us), then it was Self (not even about us). It’s a question of how we extend ourselves into the world.

Launched in 1993, WIRED is the self-proclaimed “first word on how ideas are changing in the world.” Named “Magazine of the Decade” in 2010 by AdWeek WIRED currently has a readership of 3.2 million. To Ritchin’s reference of Paul Stookey’s quote, I would like to propose that we’ve crossed yet another threshold in the popular magazine timeline into being WIRED in both senses of the Google definition of the word: “1. Making use of computers and information technology to transfer or receive information, esp. by means of the Internet, 2. In a nervous, tense, or edgy state.” Ritchin responded on September 8, 2011 to inaccuracies in the published interview on, proving his own point that “media has always needed correction.” Perhaps the rapid-fire publishing, and Ritchin’s subsequent need to respond to inaccuracies, only serves to punctuate the point that impulses are unleashed into the communal web faster and with less thought than ever before—that we are truly wired.

Full Fathom Five is a visual examination of this threshold society is balancing upon and the impending shift into a wired communal organism. Not unlike Dara Birnbaum, Nam June Paik, and Andy Warhol’s reaction to television, the artwork in Full Fathom Five is in dialogue with the brewing “sea-change / Into something rich and strange” spurred on by the digitization of society. Through intricate non-digital methods of collage, assemblage, and deconstructed imagery the artists in Full Fathom Five reference themes ranging from consumerism, waste, clustering, mechanization, synapses, computerization, transformations, re-birth, decay, graffiti, and mythology through time-intensive applications of cable-ties, embroidery thread, reclaimed plastic, watercolor, glass, polystyrene, ink, acrylic, oil, and silverpoint.

Though not self-proclaimed, the emerging and established artists from Asia, Europe, and North America featured in Full Fathom Five visualize the shifts in the teeming masses much as does the current Occupy Wall Street movement which began on September 17, 2011 and which Andy Ostroy described in the Huffington Post on October 7, 2011 as filled with “raw energy, passion and commitment on the streets of lower Manhattan these past several weeks…[and comprised of] folks of all shapes, sizes, ages, races, religions, social classes, education levels, the employed and the unemployed, union workers and workers of all types, both blue and white collar”, all of whom are sensing, demanding, and effecting a ‘sea-change.’