Finch carefully records the invisible world, while simultaneously striving to understand what might lie beyond it. Whether he is relying on his own powers of observation or using a colorimeter, a device that reads the average color and temperature of light, the artist employs a scientific method to achieve poetic ends. . . . Contrary to what one might expect, 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. In Finch’s universe if you wait a few hours, the sun may very well change a leaden hue into gold. Like the ancient practitioners of the hermetic arts, who saw changes as the most fundamental truth of the universe, the artist doesn’t always provide an answer in his investigations. For Finch art can do more; it can “ignite our capacity for wonder.” Excerpt from Susan Cross, What Time Is It On The Sun pp. 9-17, 2007
Spencer Finch is an American artist based in Brooklyn NY who creates art and installations using a variety of different media.
West (Sunset in my Motel Room) 2007. 9 channel synchronized video installation with 9 TV monitors. This piece imitates the natural illumination of the fading evening sun by means of the light projected from a group of video monitors reflecting off a white wall. Each of the nine monitors stacked in rows of three, cycles through thirty stills from the film The Searchers, the images dissolving into a new set of stills once a minute.
For this installation, he created a metal grid that’s hung from the ceiling. Plugs are strapped to the grid and cords hang down in various places. Each cord branches out into a few different bulbs. Sizes of the bulbs vary, but they all emit a similar incandescent glow and form a kind of hovering light-cloud when viewed from far away.
Sunlight in an Empty Room (Passing Cloud for Emily Dickinson) 2004. 100 fluorescent lights, filters, clothespins. This work re-creates the effect of a passing cloud in Emily Dickinson’s back yard in Amherst, Massachusetts, based on an August afternoon. The bank of three types of fluorescents generates a simulation of the daylight, and the hanging filters of the “cloud” shift the color and intensity of the sunlight to replicate the shadow cast by a cloud.
For Spencer, vision is an act of projection as much as of apprehension. . . . Darkness and light. Blindness and insight. Nature and Science. These examples are only a small selection of his amazing work. More examples can be found here.