Spencer Finch pursues the most elusive and ineffable of experiences through his work— from the color of a sunset outside a Monument Valley motel room to the afternoon breeze by Walden Pond, the shadows of passing clouds in the yard of Emily Dickinson’s home or the light in a Turner painting.
With both a scientific approach to gathering data and a true poetic sensibility, Finch’s installations, sculptures and works on paper filter perception through the lens of nature, history, literature and personal experience. “Contrary to what one might expect,” writes Susan Cross in the monograph for the artist’s 2007 solo exhibition What Time Is It On the Sun? at MASS MoCA, “Finch's efforts toward accuracy—the precise measurements he takes under different conditions and at different times of day—resist, in the end, a definitive result or single empirical truth about his subject. Instead, his dogged method reinforces the fleeting, temporal nature of the observed world, illustrating his own version of a theory of relativity.”
Recent major projects include Painting Air, an installation made for the artist’s 2012 survey at the RISD Museum of Art, in which more than 100 panels of suspended glass of varying reflectivity refract and distort an abstract mural inspired by the colors of Claude Monet's garden at Giverny. Lunar (2011), commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago, is a large sculpture that harnesses the power of the sun, gathering energy during the day and releasing that energy as a glow at the precise color temperature of a full moon. Perhaps most seen is The River That Flows Both Ways (2009), an installation on New York’s High Line in which an existing series of windows is transformed with 700 individual panes of glass representing the water conditions on the Hudson River over 700 minutes in a single day. “Like the ancient practitioners of the hermetic arts, who saw change as the most fundamental truth of the universe,” Cross continues, “the artist doesn’t always provide an answer in his investigations. For Finch art can do more: it can ‘ignite our capacity for wonder.’”
Spencer Finch (born 1962, New Haven, Connecticut) has had extensive international solo exhibitions and projects including A Certain Slant of Light, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, The Skies can’t keep their secret, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2014); Painting Air, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence, RI (2012); Lunar, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Rome, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA, Between the light - and me, Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, MA (2011); My Business, With the Cloud, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Evening Star, Pallant House, Chichester, UK, Between The Moon and The Sea, Frac des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou, France (2010); As if the sea should part and show a further sea, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (2009). He has taken part in numerous group exhibitions at The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, MACRO, Rome; Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); Making Worlds: 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia (2009); 50 Moons of Saturn, Turin Triennial (2008).. His work can be found in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA; the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany; The Kemper Museum of Art, St Louis; The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, NY. Spencer Finch lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.