The edge of perception is explored in Spencer Finch's third solo exhibition, ‘The Opposite of Blindness’, at Lisson Gallery London. The title of the exhibition, a line taken from Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, refers to the notion of a broach approach to seeing; trying to get beyond what we normally think of as vision. Through a new installation, watercolours and pastels on paper, Finch tests the limits of objectivity, pursuing poetic ends with scientific clarity, and analyses the points at which conventional vision vanishes to become something else.
Finch holds an enchanting prism between the outer world and inner thought in order to examine the subjective lens of each individual through discrete bodies of work. Artworks on display consider a variety of instances in which perception is challenged and transformed: the peripheries of vision, the obfuscations of fog and the fall of darkness, camera distortions, the view of the world experienced by different species, in this case bees. Inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poetry and by the movement of bees, Finch has attempted to track and map the complex paths taken in the delivery and exchange of pollen. Proceeding through careful observation, measurement and precision, Finch’s art translates the complexities of the natural world into arrangements of colour and light that are simultaneously abstract and representational, technically devised yet auratic in their effect.
His subjects are the ineffable and evanescent: the human condition of remembering or the quality of light at a given moment – all lending to a full comprehension of nature in spite of man’s technological advancement. In the impossibility of their undertaking, his endeavours are frequently Sisyphean, matching a Herculean task with a touch that is deliberately slight and human, with the ultimate aim of igniting wonder. “To make an honest picture, you have to fail and fail repeatedly,” Finch has said, “because you can never capture how something actually looks.”
This presentation, the artist's fourth with the gallery, follows a major exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate in 2014 and precedes his commission for Crossrail, A Cloud Index, which will be unveiled at Paddington Station, London in 2017.