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Indianapolis Museum of Art Commissions Spencer Finch

The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced that Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch will create a new installation as part of the IMA’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion series. Finch’s expansive new installation, Following Nature, will be composed of an array of nearly 200 panels of glass suspended from the Pavilion’s ceiling, as a reinterpretation of Claude Monet’s iconic water garden in Giverny, France. Following Nature will be on display from February 1 to August 25, 2013.

Installation view of Painting Air: Spencer Finch (2012)

Inspired by a recent visit to Giverny, Finch has looked to the representation of water as a shaping influence for Following Nature, in particular Monet’s use of the water garden as a kind of laboratory for optical effects. Monet has served as an inspiration for Finch for more than 20 years, and the IMA’s installation will be his second exploration of the garden in Giverny, following the 2012 exhibition of his work Painting Air at the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design. Unlike Monet’s representations of the garden through the two-dimensional medium of paint on canvas, Finch’s all-encompassing installation radically reinterprets this well-known site. The work will comprise numerous glass panels of varying reflectivity, surrounded by a multi-hued field of translucent vinyl applied to the pavilion’s existing windows. Finch sourced the colors for the window vinyl from his photographs of the gardens, color samples taken on site, and pigment colors used by Monet.

The installation’s title is drawn from a letter written by Monet to his friend Gustave Geffroy in 1889, in which Monet states, “In light of changes [in the weather] I am following nature without being able to grasp her, and then there is the river that shrinks, swells again, green one day, then yellow, sometimes almost dry, and which tomorrow will be a torrent, after the terrible rain that is falling at the moment.” Correspondingly, Finch’s Following Nature will embody the garden as an evolving, spatial and optical experience rather than as a single moment in time. As light shifts across the work’s glass panels and the pavilion’s tinted windows, viewers will be immersed in a sensory environment of changing kaleidoscopic reflections. The installation’s use of the pavilion’s windows will also unite Finch’s impression of the Giverny gardens with the IMA’s own landscape and will obscure the division between inside and outside.

”Only Spencer Finch—one of contemporary art’s foremost creative minds—could transport a viewer from Indianapolis in February to Monet’s garden in Giverny at the peak of summer,” said Sarah Urist Green, curator of contemporary art.

Following Nature is part of the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion series launched in February 2007 and made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Efroymson Family Fund. The works are installed on a rotating basis with a new commission from a different artist approximately every six months. Artists who have previously exhibited in the space include Alyson Shotz, William Lamson, Orly Genger, Julianne Swartz, and Tony Feher, among others.

A reception and artist talk in celebration of the opening of Finch’s installation will be held Thursday, January 31. The reception will be held at 5 p.m. in The Toby lobby and the talk will begin at 6 p.m. in The Toby.

Spencer Finch (b. 1962 in New Haven, Conn.) has exhibited widely, including recent exhibitions at the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle, The Netherlands. His major exhibition, What Time is it on the Sun?, was presented at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007. Finch’s work was also included in the Making Worlds exhibition at the 2009 Venice Biennale and the 2004 Whitney Biennial. He has created several public art works, including a 2009 project for the High Line in New York with Creative Time. His work is held in many museum collections, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; and the Guggenheim Museum, New York. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Hamilton College, and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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