Turner Contemporary
  • Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Manu Palomeque

    Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Manu Palomeque

  • Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Manu Palomeque

    Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Manu Palomeque

  • Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Manu Palomeque

    Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Manu Palomeque

  • Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Stephen White

    Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Stephen White

  • Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Stephen White

    Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Stephen White

  • Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Stephen White

    Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Stephen White

  • Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Stephen White

    Installation view Spencer Finch: The Skies can't keep their secret. Photo Stephen White

24 May 2014 - 21 September 2014

Turner Contemporary presents a major exhibition of work by American artist Spencer Finch. Finch’s first solo exhibition in an English public gallery in over 5 years brings together new and recent works by the artist, all of which reflect on the changing coastal light of Margate and other sites. The exhibition is accompanied by a group of JMW Turner’s watercolours selected by Finch from the Tate collection. 

Spencer Finch (born 1962, New Haven, CT), commissioned to produce an installation for New York’s High Line in 2009 and selected by Crossrail to create a permanent monumental work for Paddington Station, is known for his poetic artworks that distil his observations and experience of the world into glowing installations of light and colour. 

Conceived for Turner Contemporary’s North Gallery, the exhibition includes a large-scale suspended ‘cloud’ sculpture, made from simple translucent filters that subtly alter its transparency and opacity as the natural light in the space changes throughout the day, recreating the effect of a passing cloud. Back to Kansas (2013) replicates colours from scenes in The Wizard of Oz in a grid of painted squares, scaled proportionally using the original aspect ratio in which the famous movie was projected. As daylight fades, the colours gradually evaporate, reversing the original film’s transition from black and white to Technicolor in a work that encourages slow, focused looking and gives a knowing nod to twentieth-century abstraction. The exhibition also presents new work by the artist, including a brightly coloured fluorescent light sculpture, made in response to the ever-present horizon line in Margate, and a group of drawings in an ongoing series recreating the changing natural light on the artist’s studio wall over time.

Among the group of seven works on paper by JMW Turner which have been selected by 
Spencer Finch to accompany his exhibition is the late watercolour sketch A Wreck (possibly related to 'Longships Lighthouse, Land's End') 1834-40, which the artist keeps a postcard of in his New York studio.  Finch is particularly interested in the dynamic between abstraction and representation in these works, which are primarily views of Margate and the Kent coast.


"Infused with the spirit of Turner, Spencer Finch came to Margate and said “let there be light”. And there was light, and there was truly edifying art."
Aesthetica Magazine

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