In Spencer Finch’s newest body of work, silver leaf, white drapes of fabric, soft pastels, and tangles of scotch tape are transformed into visions of snow, light, clouds, and fog. A testament to winter—they were made primarily in the winter of 2021—Finch has pared down his longstanding explorations of light and color to the most subtle of variations for the works, which are now on view in “Only the Hand That Erases Writes the True Thing” at Lisson Gallery, London.
“The idea of the show is being limited both in palette, in expression, in visual ‘oomph’ and to just sort of focus on things that are very subtle, evanescent, minimal, and also minor,” Finch said in a behind-the-scenes video looking at the creation of the show in the artist’s Brooklyn studio.
Finch describes the inspirations behind various works now on view. For instance, to create Crawford Path up Mt. Pierce, New Hampshire (after a spring snowstorm) (2021) he took what he calls a “pantone walk” in which he matched the natural colors he encountered on a journey up Mount Pierce in New Hampshire to Benjamin Moore paint swatches. In its completion, Crawford Path up Mt. Pierce, New Hampshire (after a spring snowstorm) is almost musical in the slight variations in color caused by the changing light on the snowy mountains.
Another set of silver leaf drawings are based on photographs of newly fallen snow. Describing these works, Finch said, “I think it’s something that’s anti-digital. You have to experience the work in real life to understand what’s going on. And in that way, it’s connected to real perception and real experience in nature.”