From the DS Archives: Spencer Finch

This Sunday, From the DS Archives invites you to check out a recent commission by American artist, Spencer Finch. Finch is one of the 19 international artists selected to create a commission for the Folkestone Triennial, opening June 25th and just an hour away from London by train. For his commission, titled The Colour of Water, Finch observed the varying tone and color of the English Channel over many weeks in order to create a palette of colors that reflect the water’s ever-changing appearance. One hundred flags were dyed with these colors and each day, an observer will select a flag to hoist above the town that most closely resembles the current color of the sea.

This article was originally written by Benjamin Bellas on April 18, 2009.


On view at Rhona Hoffman Gallery is Light, Time, Chemistry, an exhibition of work by Spencer Finch. In this exhibition, Finch references both phenomenology and the psychology of perception, capturing and re-contextualizing fleeting and ephemeral elements from our surroundings. Among the many works exhibited is Periscope, a photographic device composed of mirrors and ventilation ducts that extends from inside the gallery to the outside and allows visitors to view the changing sky. The periscope was used to expose a cyanotype directly on the wall of the gallery, creating a hazy blue image from a two-day exposure of the Chicago sky.

Also on display is Finch’s installation Shadow, Sculpture of Centaur, Tuileries (after Atget), a component of a larger body of work entitled Shadows (After Atget). In this work, Finch captures the ephemeral phenomenon of shadows, focusing specifically on re-creating light from locations of Eugene Atget’s photographs of Paris. Employing a fluorescent tube lamp covered with colored filters of Isaac Newton’s spectrum, the light functions as a reverse prism, emitting the very polychrome grey light of the Parisian shadows photographed by Atget almost one hundred years ago.


Spencer Finch was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He studied at Rhode Island School of DesignHamilton College in New York and Doshisha University in Kyoto. Finch had a major solo exhibitionWhat Time Is It On The Sun? at MASS MoCA, Massachusetts in 2007, which was accompanied by a monograph with essays by Susan Cross and Daniel Birnbaum. The artist will be a participant in the upcoming 53rd Venice Biennale this June.