Lisson Gallery

Spencer Finch

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: 

'Cosmic Latte', MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, USA, on view until 2020

'As Lightning on a Landscape', Spruance Gallery, Glenside, PA, USA, on view until December, 2019

Mars (Sunrise)

Spencer Finch
Mars (Sunrise), 2016
Fluorescents, fixtures, filters Dimensions variable, size as installed at Lisson Gallery 610 x 765 cm 240 1/8 x 301 3/16 in.

Sunflower (Bee's View, Zebulon)

Spencer Finch
Sunflower (Bee's View, Zebulon), 2016
Pastel and pencil on paper 76 x 76 cm 30 x 30 in.

Still Life (Tulips) morning, noon, afternoon, evening effect

Spencer Finch
Still Life (Tulips) morning, noon, afternoon, evening effect, 2016
Watercolour on paper 4 panels: 56 x 43 cm each 4 panels: 22 1/8 x 17 in. each

Morning Light Walden Pond (April 18th, 2013)

Spencer Finch
Morning Light Walden Pond (April 18th, 2013), 2013
LED lightbox, fujitrans 124.5 x 124.5 x 12.7 cm 49 x 49 x 5 in.

Paper Moon (Studio Wall at Night)

Spencer Finch
Paper Moon (Studio Wall at Night), 2012
Mixed media Dimensions variable

Studio Radiator (Thermal Images)

Spencer Finch
Studio Radiator (Thermal Images), 2012
Archival inkjet print 28.6 x 28.1 cm 11 1/4 x 11 1/16 in.

Studio Window (Infrared, January, 25 2012, Morning Effect)

Spencer Finch
Studio Window (Infrared, January, 25 2012, Morning Effect), 2012
Oil pastel on paper 119.1 x 83.8 cm 78 3/8 x 33 in.

My Desk 1/29/12 (1/2 Scale)

Spencer Finch
My Desk 1/29/12 (1/2 Scale), 2012
Paper collage 44.8 x 82.9 cm 17 5/8 x 32 5/8 in.

Vanitas (Tulips)

Spencer Finch
Vanitas (Tulips), 2012
Archival inkjet prints 42 x 42 cm 16 9/16 x 16 9/16 in.

Sunset from the Studio Roof (12/9/11)

Spencer Finch
Sunset from the Studio Roof (12/9/11), 2012
LED lightbox, Fujitrans, filter 57.8 x 70.5 x 2.9 cm 22 3/4 x 27 3/4 x 1 1/8 in.

Paths through the Studio

Spencer Finch
Paths through the Studio, 2011
Oil pastel on paper 266 x 628 cm 104 3/4 x 247 1/4 in.

Eleven Melting Snowflakes, Brooklyn, NY, 12/31/08

Spencer Finch
Eleven Melting Snowflakes, Brooklyn, NY, 12/31/08, 2008
Snowflakes on paper (Arches Bright White Hot Press) 64.1 x 82.9 cm 25 1/4 x 32 5/8 in.

Bee Flight Patterns

Spencer Finch
Bee Flight Patterns, 2011
Watercolour on paper 28.6 x 34.6 cm 11 1/4 x 13 5/8 in.

Exactly 4 o'clock in the Afternoon (Studio Freight Elevator, 4/21/10)

Spencer Finch
Exactly 4 o'clock in the Afternoon (Studio Freight Elevator, 4/21/10), 2010
Light projection Dimensions variable

West (Sunset in My Motel Room, Monument Valley, January 26, 2007, 5:36-6:06 PM)

Spencer Finch
West (Sunset in My Motel Room, Monument Valley, January 26, 2007, 5:36-6:06 PM), 2007
9 channel synchronized video installation with 9 TV monitors Dimensions variable

White (Niagara Falls obscured by mist, April 17th 5:50pm)

Spencer Finch
White (Niagara Falls obscured by mist, April 17th 5:50pm), 2006
Lightbox and filters 50.8 x 20.3 cm 51. 20 x 8 in.

Taxonomy of Clouds

Spencer Finch
Taxonomy of Clouds, 2006
17 inkjet prints

Taxonomy of Clouds (detail)

Spencer Finch
Taxonomy of Clouds (detail), 2006
Archival inkjet print

Kaaterskill Falls (July 30, 2006, 12:37PM)

Spencer Finch
Kaaterskill Falls (July 30, 2006, 12:37PM), 2006
Fluorescent light boxes with laminated filters 188 x 127 x 20 cm and 142 x 97 x 20 cm 74 x 50 x 7 7/8 in. and 55 15/16 x 34 1/4 x 7 7/8 in.

Dusk (Hudson River Valley 10/30/2005)

Spencer Finch
Dusk (Hudson River Valley 10/30/2005), 2005
Filters, clothespins, fishing line, fluorescent lights

Dusk (Hudson River Valley 10/30/2005)

Spencer Finch
Dusk (Hudson River Valley 10/30/2005), 2005
Filters, clothespins, fishing ling, fluorescent lights

Sunrise (Over the Atlantic Ocean, September 6)

Spencer Finch
Sunrise (Over the Atlantic Ocean, September 6), 2004
165 fluorescent tubes, coloured plastic Length 3048 cm Length 1200 in.

Sky (Over Coney Island, November 26th, 2004, 12:47pm. Southwest view over the Cyclone.)

Spencer Finch
Sky (Over Coney Island, November 26th, 2004, 12:47pm. Southwest view over the Cyclone.), 2004
Balloons, helium and string Dimensions variable

Night Sky, Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, 1/9/04

Spencer Finch
Night Sky, Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, 1/9/04, 2004
87 lamps, 401 bulbs Dimensions variable

Sunlight in an Empty Room (Passing Cloud for Emily Dickinson, Amherst, MA, August 28, 2004)

Spencer Finch
Sunlight in an Empty Room (Passing Cloud for Emily Dickinson, Amherst, MA, August 28, 2004), 2004
100 fluorescent lights, filters, clothespins Dimensions variable

Sunlight in an Empty Room (Passing Cloud for Emily Dickinson, Amherst, MA, August 28, 2004)

Spencer Finch
Sunlight in an Empty Room (Passing Cloud for Emily Dickinson, Amherst, MA, August 28, 2004), 2004
100 fluorescent lights, filters, clothespins Dimensions variable

Sunset (South Texas, 6/21/03)

Spencer Finch
Sunset (South Texas, 6/21/03), 2003
Fluorescent lights, filters 40.6 x 101.6 cm 16 x 40 in.

Paris/Texas

Spencer Finch
Paris/Texas, 2003
Sandblasted stained glass Installation view: ArtPace, San Antonio, Texas 30.5 x 71.1 cm 12 x 28 in.

Moonlight (Luna County New Mexico, July 13, 2003)

Spencer Finch
Moonlight (Luna County New Mexico, July 13, 2003), 2005
Filters and tape Dimensions variable

Exhibitions

  1. Spencer Finch: No Ordinary Blue

    Spencer Finch: No Ordinary Blue

    15 March – 4 May 2019

  2. Spencer Finch

    Spencer Finch

    31 March – 19 May 2017

  3. Spencer Finch: The Opposite of Blindness

    Spencer Finch: The Opposite of Blindness

    1 April – 7 May 2016

  4. Spencer Finch: Not precisely knowing, Not precisely knowing not

    Spencer Finch: Not precisely knowing, Not ...

    16 November 2012 – 11 January 2013

  5. Spencer Finch: Ex Nihilo

    Spencer Finch: Ex Nihilo

    21 March – 28 April 2012

  6. Spencer Finch: Lux and Lumen

    Spencer Finch: Lux and Lumen

    29 May – 26 July 2008

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