Spencer Finch is best known for ethereal light installations that visualise his experience of natural phenomena. His investigations into the nature of light, colour, memory and perception manifest in watercolours, drawings, video and photographs. Compelled by what he describes as ‘the impossible desire to see oneself seeing’, Finch holds up an enchanting prism between the outer world and inner thought. He distills his observations of the world into glowing abstract colour but also diverts them through cultural and historical filters: in homage to Emily Dickinson’s 1862 poem Before I got my eye put out, he measured the sunlight in her Massachusetts garden then recreated the effect of a passing cloud by means of fluorescent tubes covered in gel and suspended theatre filters. He has painted the changing shades of grey on Sigmund Freud’s ceiling in Vienna, Austria, viewed from the psychoanalyst’s couch and later, in 102 Colors from My Dreams (2002), recorded the colours he saw in his sleep then colour-matched inks to make a sequence of Rorschach blots. His monumental installation Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning (2014), on display at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York, features a mosaic of hand-painted shades of blue, while his Crossrail commission for Paddington Station in London, A Cloud Index, will consist of a 120m long canopy depicting more than 25 cloud types.
Spencer Finch was born in New Haven, CT, USA in 1962 and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, USA. He has a BA in comparative literature from Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, USA (1985) and an MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, RI, USA (1989). Solo exhibitions include Arcadia University, Spruance Gallery, Glenside, PA, USA (2019); ‘Fifteen Stones (Ryoanji)’, Fundacio Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, Spain (2018); ‘Cosmic Latte’, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, USA (2017); ‘Lost Man Creek’, Public Art Fund, New York, NY, USA (2016); Marfa Contemporary, TX, USA (2014), Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana, USA (2013), the Art Institute of Chicago, USA (2011), Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, USA (2007) and Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2003). He participated in the Folkestone Triennial, UK (2011) and the 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy (2009). Public commissions include Crossrail, London, UK (2019, forthcoming); the Public Art Fund, New York, NY USA (2016); and The High Line, New York, NY, USA (2008).
Current and recent projects:
6 October – 31 October 2020
Spencer Finch: No Ordinary Blue
15 March – 4 May 2019
31 March – 19 May 2017
Spencer Finch: The Opposite of Blindness
1 April – 7 May 2016
Spencer Finch: Not precisely knowing, Not ...
16 November 2012 – 11 January 2013
Spencer Finch: Ex Nihilo
21 March – 28 April 2012
Spencer Finch: Lux and Lumen
29 May – 26 July 2008