- Media category
- Materials used
- nine inkjet prints
- AP [from edition of 1 plus AP]
- each print: 15.0x15.0 cm image; 12.7x12.7 cm sheet; 27.1x26.6cm frame
- Don Mitchell Bequest Fund 2014
- Not on display
- Accession number
- © Spencer Finch
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Spencer Finch is an American artist who uses painstaking and experimental methods to get at poetic aspects of daily experience. He focuses particularly on changes in light and atmospheric affect. For example, his work ‘Darkness (artist’s studio)’ 2004-5 consists of a series of pastel renditions of the hue of darkness in his studio, recorded every night over a period of months.
Finch’s working methods speak of a contemporary scientific sublime, in which the natural world is a source of wonder. His rigorous, empirical relationship to the world around him is filtered through poetic and literary references.
His work ‘56 Minutes (after Kawabata) Spring’ comprises nine images shot at eight-minute intervals looking through a window at dusk (the title refers to the duration of the entire work). The images show the view out the window of his ancestral home in Vermont. As darkness falls, the view out the window gradually diminishes and the interior of the room in which the artist stands reveals itself. This work invokes a passage from the novel ‘Snow country’ by Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata:
"In the depths of the mirror the evening landscape moved by, the mirror and the reflected figure like motion pictures superimposed one on the other. The figures and the background were unrelated, and yet the figures, transparent and intangible, and the background, dim in the gathering darkness, melted together into a sort of symbolic world not of this world."
In describing the subtle interaction between two images – the view and the reflection – Kawabata’s text inspired a literal rendition of the phenomenon. However, in Finch’s series of photographs, the movement is not that of a train through the landscape, but rather that of the earth turning away from the sun, the movement from light to dark and from exterior to interior.
As many have noted, Spencer Finch’s works are not spectacular or grandiose. They don’t overwhelm their viewers but rather invite them into a quiet and contemplative space, one that captures unrepeatable moments in time and sends them back to the world with sharpened attention.
Shown in 1 exhibition
Shadow Catchers, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2020–03 Jan 2021