Over the last three decades, Spencer Finch has been working across various media including painting, drawing and sculpture although he is best known for his large-scale light installations. Finch uses a scientific approach to convey the ephemera of memory and experience, measuring the light and colour of another time and place to re-create the effect of that particular moment. Avoiding theatrical sleights of hand, he likes to reveal the materials and simple technical processes by which the atmospheric illusions of his installations are produced.
Spencer Finch is the fourth speaker in the American Artist Lecture Series, a partnership between Art In Embassies, Tate Modern and US Embassy London. It seeks to bring the greatest living modern and contemporary American artists to the UK in the name of cultural diplomacy.
Finch will be in conversation with writer, critic and curator Sacha Craddock.
Finch is best known for ethereal light installations that visualise his experience of natural phenomena. His investigations into the nature of light, colour, memory and perception proceed in watercolours, drawings, video and photographs.
Finch distills his observations of the world into glowing abstract colour but also diverts them through cultural and historical filters: in homage to Emily Dickinson’s 1862 poem ‘Before I got my eye put out’, he measured the sunlight in her Massachusetts garden then recreated the effect of a passing cloud by means of fluorescent tubes covered in gel and suspended theatre filters.
Finch was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1962 and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He has a BA in comparative literature from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York (1985) and an MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design (1989). Solo exhibitions include Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana (2013), the Art Institute of Chicago (2011), Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams (2007) and Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2003). He participated in the Folkestone Triennial, UK (2011) and the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009).
Craddock is a freelance writer, critic and curator. Former Director of Programme at Max Wigram Gallery 2011- 2012. Co founder and curator of Bloomberg Space 2002- 2011 and active Chair of the Board of New Contemporaries from 1996 as well as Chair of the selection process for 17 years. Craddock is Chair of Braziers International Workshop; co-founder of Artschool Palestine, a Public Art Advisor for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Member of the Curatorial Board of Fondazione MACC, Sardinia, Member of Council Abbey Awards for British School at Rome as well as founder of Fellowship in Contemporary Art at British School at Rome. Craddock also works as a post-graduate tutor at the Royal College of Art. After studying painting at St Martins and then Chelsea School of Art, Craddock started to write criticism for the Guardian Newspaper and then the Times. She has curated a large range of exhibitions including a six year programme of contemporary art for Sadlers Wells. Recent essays include those on Angus Fairhurst, Richard Billingham, Edgar Davids, Mustafa Hulusi, Heri Dono, Rosa Lee, Art and Youth for Turner Contemporary and London in the 1970s.