Spencer Finch: Gravity Always Wins (3 stars)

Dundee Contemporary Arts, until Sun 4 Jan

Spencer Finch: Gravity Always Wins


A little fluffy cloud made of translucent plastic filters hangs low, back-lit by a line-up of fluorescent tubes, recreating the summer afternoon light of Emily Dickinson’s home town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Blue may be the saddest of colours, but there’s little chance of seasonally affected disorder kicking in when viewing Spencer Finch’s re-alignment of natural light in this collection of five installations inspired by David Hume and other enlightened philosophers.

Alongside ‘Night Sky (Over The Painted Desert, Arizona, January 11, 2004)’, which recreates the after-hours view from a motel parking lot using light fixtures and lamps, the aforementioned ‘Sunlight In An Empty Room (Passing Cloud For Emily Dickinson, Amherst, MA, August 28, 2004)’ is the oldest work on show. The specificity of each title evokes a sense of time and place, little moments of everyday history being made and preserved before they float or fade away.

‘Sky (Over Franz Josef Glacier, April 8, 2008, 10.40AM)’ reflects the colour of the sky via a small pool in which blue ice cubes are created and plunged into the shallow end. ‘8456 Shades Of Blue (After Hume)’ is a dot-to-dot light-and-shade colour chart enquiry into human perception, while ‘Two Examples Of Molecular Orbital Theory (Prussian Blue)’ is an optical illusion whereby the same effect is managed separate rooms by different means.

There’s an understandably airy, meditative air to all these works. To come blinking into the light in such a fashion is blur sky thinking made tangibly clear.

Gravity Always Wins

  • 3 stars

Solo exhibition featuring new work by contemporary American artist Spencer Finch. For this large installation, commissioned especially for the DCA, Finch uses illusionary devices to recreate an experience of light moving in and around a cloud.


Post a comment