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Spencer Finch Paints the Air at the RISD Museum

Spencer Finch is into immediacy. He doesn’t want to show you the rippling surface of a river as it’s buffeted by a light breeze; he wants to give you that surface, or at least the sensation of being part of the surface. Noble aims, to be sure, although kind of difficult to manage in practice. Remember Beckett, though, in Worstward Ho: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Spencer Finch keeps going for it, because he has to, and this new exhibit, Painting Air, has some mad, roiling moments in it, like the installation above. It’s up at the RISD Museum through July 29. (Greg Cook, Providence Phoenix)