Spencer Finch

First Sight

19 April 2008 - 22 June 2008

First Sight is the by-product of a six-week artist residency in Dunedin by the New York artist Spencer Finch. As this title suggests Finch brings together a series of artworks that test, contemplate and record this artist’s response to being located in an unfamiliar physical and cultural environment.  In this respect it could be argued that he sets-up a range of perceptual and conceptual experiments in order to control and understand this new territory.  However, this type of reading tends to limit First Sight to a set of empirical accounts about the particularities of place and disregards the subtle elements that Finch is actually contemplating: from the shifting cloud patterns at a specific intervals for an hour to the exact reading of the azure sky over a West Coast glacier.

By focusing on the most rudimentary aspects such as sunlight, weather patterns and dust particles Finch not only reveals how our environment is in a constant state of flux he also compels us to think about the complex relationship between looking, its mediation and our memory of that moment or event. It is through the process of choosing when to look and deciding what to look at that Finch is able to capture the most fleeting sensation in a sustained and enduring gesture.  In this aspect First Sight makes the process of observing a concrete material in itself, each artwork offers a discrete consideration of this phenomenon operating in an autonomous manner and yet there is ample scope to read the links between these artworks in a more holistic way.

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