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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Artist Lecture: Spencer Finch

Sunset (St. Louis, July 31, 2008)

Abecedary (Nabokov’s Theory of a Colored Alphabet applied to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle)

Composition in Red and Green

I was browsing some of his projects online before attending the lecture, and I have to say that I highly anticipated hearing his explanation of the ice cream cones. They were like dreamy pastels in the softest shades (with the exception of the yellow), mimicking the ice cream’s consistency. His installations are definitely pleasing to the eye, and it was a wonder to hear his discussion of methodology that followed. When a student asked if he thought it was important that viewers understand the complex processes by which each piece was made, with all references and artist influences involved, Finch responded that he wanted to produce work that “makes a connection to the world, regardless of methodological understanding.” Through his presentation I grew an admiration for his diligence. It was like he had an earnest desire to finding formulas that would reproduce the intangible things in nature, like Moonlight and Sky. He seemed to have a very mechanical approach to art, in the way that he transcribed information with colors in “Abecedary (Nabokov’s Theory of a Colored Alphabet applied to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle)" or the glacier-making machine that used water in a complete cycle. Even with “Composition in Red and Green,” the visual product is a result of set rules that the creator cannot control, like gravity. I am impressed in how he constantly attempts to tackle problems in a sort of practical way, when he is reproducing light/sunsets, wind at a specific location. I did, however, question his production process for installations like the solar-powered ice-cream maker and the glacier machine. The ideas were grand but did he produce the technology to make it happen and install it himself? Would that make his work stronger? Between ideas and physical creation, is there a ratio to describe an artist’s ownership over their own work?

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