Spencer Finch: Lux and Lumen
Hill Art Foundation, New York
September 16, 2022 – March 04, 2023
The Hill Art Foundation is pleased to announce Lux and Lumen: Spencer Finch, opening September 16, 2022. The exhibition will place new and recent works by Spencer Finch in dialogue with a 16th-century stained-glass window by the Renaissance master Valentin Bousch. Lux and Lumen is curated by Finch and will open one week after the artist’s solo exhibition, “We send the wave to find the wave” at James Cohan Gallery.
Bousch’s “The Creation and the Expulsion from Paradise” (1533) was acquired by Tom and Janine Hill in 2018 for the Hill Art Foundation and has undergone extensive conservation under the leadership of conservator Drew Anderson and Timothy Husband, Curator Emeritus, The Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The window was originally one of a series of seven created by Bousch for the Benedictine priory church of Saint-Firmin in Flavigny-sur-Moselle in France’s Lorraine region. Two other windows from the cycle are on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In conceiving this exhibition, Finch worked closely with the conservation team to understand the connections between Bousch’s stained-glass window and his own practice. Its title is inspired by the ideas of Abbot Suger (c. 1081–1151), abbot of the cathedral at Saint-Denis and an early patron of Gothic architecture in Europe. Suger believed in the power of stained glass to transform natural light, lux, into sacred light, or lumen. Finch expands on these ideas in relation to the Bousch stained glass and modern secular sites. One such example is the monumental “Painting Air”, an immersive hanging glass installation that transforms the Foundation’s double-story gallery into a lightscape inspired by Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny.
Other major works in the exhibition include “Rose Window at Saint-Denis“, a fluorescent light-tube installation which recreates the exact color temperature of morning light passing through the North Rose Window at the Cathedral at Saint-Denis in Paris, France. The work, conceived specifically for this show, is a playful exploration of the contemporary relevance of lumen. Another new series created for Lux and Lumen is “Studio window, summer (infrared, early morning, late morning, early afternoon, mid-afternoon, late afternoon, early evening, evening, 6/24/22)”. This sequence of seven oil pastels represents infrared temperature measurements taken from Finch’s studio windows over the course of a day in June 2022. While many of the works in the exhibition engage with reflected or projected light, “Studio window” is a pure translation of light through color. Also included will be the room-size stained-glass installation “CIE 529/418 (candlelight)”, which shifts the color of sunlight to the color of candlelight inside the gallery. Utilizing yellow, orange, amber, and red stained-glass panels, the work filters the broad spectrum of daylight and reduces it to the much narrower wavelength of candlelight. The title refers to the technical reading of candlelight on the CIE (Committee Internationale d’Eclairage) scale, highlighting the scientific aspects of Finch’s practice.