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Spencer Finch
Sky Over the Ikarian Sea,
1996


© ArtNet Worldwide 1997

david ebony's
new york top ten



Spencer Finch
at Postmasters


Jan. 4-Feb. 8, 1997


In this show, conceptualist Spencer Finch presents paintings and works on paper that are a continuation of his witty experiments in perception. In the large room at Postmasters, he hung one of the most striking painting shows of the season. A series of seven, approximately 6-foot-long oval-shaped encaustic paintings (an elliptical format which the artist says is based on John Ruskin's study of the human field of vision) lined the walls of the gallery.

Titled, Sky Over the Ikarian Sea I-VII, the series is based on sketches Finch made from a small airplane flying over Greece's Ikarian Sea. The seascapes are painted from the vantage point of airborne Icarus, whose wax-fitted wings melted as he flew too near the sun. These encaustic paintings chronicle his plummet to the sea. Separating turquoise sea from purple sky, the horizon lines shift and seem to rotate from one image to another. They seem to transport one to a distant place and time. In his work, Finch, whose name, of course, is also that of a bird, plays the part of Icarus, and this series suggests a metaphor for artistic ambition. Finch revitalizes the myth as he reenacts it by means of these luminous paintings.

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