Spencer Finch at the Emily Dickinson Museum

 "untitled" by Spencer Finch (2011)
 "Shade" by Spencer Finch, created at the Emily Dickinson Museum April 26-28, 2011

“Between the light – and me –”
Spencer Finch at the Emily Dickinson Museum

Part of The Big Read

Amherst Art Walk
Thursday, May 5
5-8 p.m.

On Thursday, May 5, the Emily Dickinson Museum will take part in Amherst’s monthly Art Walk.  From 5 to 8 p.m., the public is invited to visit the Homestead, home of the poet, free of charge to view “Between the light – and me,” an exhibition of a new work by Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch.  

Last week, Finch was in residence at the Emily Dickinson Museum as part of The Big Read:  Emily Dickinson. A long-time reader of Dickinson’s poetry, Finch particularly admires what he calls the poet’s “super sensitivity” to the world around us.  His own efforts to understand perception are in part what draw him to Dickinson’s poetry. 

During his residency, Finch created and installed a new piece in a south-facing window at the Homestead (seen at right).  To shift the color of daylight to the color of shadow, Finch carefully attached theater gels (cut into abstract shapes that resemble leaves) to the window’s panes.  The result resembles a stained-glass window that literally sheds new light on the replica of the poet’s white dress that stands in front of the window.    

Finch’s new installation, "Shade," along with six works on paper that reveal more about his focus on perception, is on view at the Museum through May 21 on guided tours.  The open house during the May Art Walk offers the public a chance to view the work without a guided tour. 

The exhibit title “Between the light – and me” is taken from a line from Emily Dickinson’s poem “I heard a Fly buzz.”  The title was suggested by students in an English class at Amherst Regional High School, which Finch visited twice as part of his residency.  Finch has mined Dickinson’s poetry before when searching for titles; two recent exhibitions—one at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington,  DC, and a second at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia—took their titles from lines of the poet’s work.  

Spencer Finch was recently called “one of the smartest, most original artists working today” by the Washington Post. His work has appeared in exhibitions and is part of the permanent collections of museums throughout the United States and the world.  In 2007 Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, organized a major exhibition and catalog of Finch’s work called “What Time Is It on the Sun?”  Finch’s “The River That Flows Both Ways” (2009)  is a permanent installation in the High Line, a public park in Manhattan’s West Side.

For general information about the Amherst Art Walk, call the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce at 413-253-0700.

UPDATE (5/5/2011)!  Listen to an audio clip of Spencer Finch's talk for the Museum on April 26. In discussing why he selected certain pieces to include in his Museum exhibit, Finch describes what appeals to him about Dickinson's work. 

·         Spencer Finch describes what appeals to him about Dickinson's work (0:33)


All Big Read programs are free. For other Big Read programs at the Emily Dickinson Museum, click here.  For more information about other 2011 events at the Museum, visit our Events page.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.  The Emily Dickinson Museum is one of 75 non-profit organizations throughout the United States to receive a grant to host a Big Read project this year. The Big Read gives local communities the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate together one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature.  For more information about The Big Read, visit www.neabigread.org.