Over the course of a three-decade career, Finch has worked in and across a range of media, consistently probing the complexities of vision—how we see and how we know what we see. His work is both extremely methodical and highly whimsical, and it draws almost equally on science and poetry. “Lux and Lumen: Spencer Finch,” a solo exhibition currently on view at the Hill Art Foundation, offers an opportunity not only to reflect on the persistent themes in his work, but also to glimpse some fresh investigations.
“Painting Air” fills a large gallery with hanging sheets of tinted glass that, in theory, duplicate light effects from Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, France. But Finch’s duplication, however precisely calculated, barely calls to mind either the real garden’s light or a painter’s impression of it. As always, Finch’s artful science works both to bring the world into our midst and to distance us from it.
“Inebriate of air – am I,” wrote Emily Dickinson, and the same might be said of Spencer Finch. For the past thirty years, the cerebral American artist has been translating the evanescent conditions of specific locations—the climate, the color, the light—into exhilarating installations, paintings, drawings, and photographs that harmonize the systems-based rigor of Minimalism with the unpredictable beauty of the natural world.