Spencer Finch’s projects at ArtPace have evolved out of his time in Texas. As in previous works, each relates to the physical and historical particulars of a geographic area or site—in this case San Antonio and its environs. Finch uses light, color, photography, and text to abstractly articulate his understanding of the Lone Star State.
For Paris/Texas Finch has tethered his present travels to those of his recent past—simultaneously drawing out connections and emphasizing the specific nature of his current location. Finch arrived in San Antonio after a visit to France, and brought with him measurements of the light that came through his Parisian hotel window in January. Using colored glass panels to filter the Texas glare, Finch recreates at ArtPace the quality of light on that day in France. The stained glass both temporarily grafts the history of French craft onto an American modernist building, and facilitates a dialectical relationship between the harsh beauty of both Texan summers and Parisian winters.
Buried Treasure brings another piece of the outside into the art gallery. Finch has fabricated a treasure hunt complete with gold coins and maps drawn in invisible ink. Framed maps to several sites in South Texas hang in the gallery, tempting the viewer by protecting their secrets until someone is bold enough to destroy the piece in order to find the gold (the ink only reveals itself when the paper is heated). Like many of his other works, Buried Treasure hints at Finch’s impressions of the place he is in.
Spencer Finch’s unlikely approximations suggest that there are multiple ways of representing the world and commemorating our experiences on it. His installations challenge the idea that objectivity exists.