artnet Asks: Spencer Finch
His latest installation features 1,400 Pantone color swatches.
Spencer Finch is best known for his work that examines light and his experience of natural phenomena. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, the artist received his MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design and now resides in Brooklyn. His most recent work, Trying to remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning, was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial and Museum (see “Spencer Finch Immortalizes Crystalline Blue Sky at the 9/11 Museum“). His works range from watercolors, drawings, video, and photographs, as well as large-scale installations. On October 10, Finch will unveil his newest, site-specific work, Ulysses, at Marfa Contemporary, in Oklahoma. Titled after James Joyce’s famous novel, whose events unraveled in a single day, Finch’s piece reflects a condensed chronicle of a day in the life of the artist.
Could you tell us a little bit about the featured piece, Ulysses, that will be shown at Marfa Contemporary?
It is a record of the colors (in order) that I experienced on one day as I walked through Brooklyn (and a bit of Manhattan) on one day, September 19.
How did you make the decision to use Pantone, a commercial color-matching system rather than say, creating your own colors?
I was working so fast that I needed a quick and handy and somewhat thorough reference, hence the Pantone. I was walking and recording the color numbers and names constantly and the Pantone guide worked great for that. I would not have had time to mix paint. There are about 1,400 colors that I recorded in the day. I also like the size of the Pantone swatches when they are cut and applied to the wall, with a space for me to write the a description of the object in pencil on the wall next to the color.
When not making art, what do you like to do?
I really enjoy sleeping!
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