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A Bright New Welcome

The corridor to the museum’s main entrance will be flooded with light and color by Spencer Finch’s Color Test 210 (9 Permutations)
Emily Liebert, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art
February 16, 2018

Starting this spring, visitors will be greeted by a flood of illuminated color as they enter the museum through the north passageway. Spencer Finch’s Color Test 210 (9 Permutations), a series of nine light boxes from 2015, gives form to the complexity of color in mesmerizing ways. The boxes’ luminous surfaces, based on computerized drawings by Finch, are each composed of 210 different colors and grouped by the chromatic families of warm, cool, and gray. These compositions are printed on Fujitrans, a translucent colored material that emits an arresting glow when illuminated from behind by LED lights.

Color Test 210 (9 Permutations) (details), 2015. Spencer Finch (American, b. 1962). 9 LED lightboxes, Fujitrans; each 77.5 x 77.5 x 11.4 cm. Collection of Scott C. Mueller. Photograph © Spencer Finch. Courtesy James Cohan, New York


Abstract Painting (750-1), 1991. Gerhard Richter (German, b. 1932). Oil on canvas; 260 x 200 cm. Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund, 1995.74. © Gerhard Richter


The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16 October 1834, 1835. Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, 1775–1851). Oil on canvas; 92 x 123.2 cm. Bequest of John L. Severance, 1942.647

The work is inspired by the color chart paintings of modern artists Ellsworth Kelly and Gerhard Richter, and they recall the tradition of Romanticist painting in which artists such as J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Cole rendered the qualities of light on their canvases. These and related artists are represented in the CMA’s collections, so visitors will find Color Test 210 reverberating throughout the museum. Working across a wide range of media, Finch has spent nearly three decades exploring the perception of light and color, often in relation to natural phenomena and historic sites. The artist’s work, which combines scientific precision with visual poetry, is motivated by his “impossible desire to see oneself seeing.”

Cleveland Art, March/April 2018