Art Out: Amy Finkelstein "If Only"

Art Out: Amy Finkelstein "If Only"

If only (composition for now with detritus) 5 , 2018. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 52 × 37 in (132.1 × 94 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery

If only (composition for now with detritus) 5, 2018. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 52 × 37 in (132.1 × 94 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery

By Sarah Sunday

For just a few more days, until the near-approaching 26th of January, Amy Finkelstein’s If Only is being displayed by the Elizabeth Houston Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Housed within the interior of the gallery, five of Finkelstein’s experimental photographs have been framed in black and hung upon white walls, awaiting observance.

Untitled, 2  , 2017. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 36 × 25 in (91.4 × 63.5 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery

Untitled, 2 , 2017. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 36 × 25 in (91.4 × 63.5 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery


Artfully reveling in the abstract form, Amy Finkelstein creates complex and earthly grids of color and texture; a structured and deliberate process of mess-making. Blacks, reds, and yellows stand out in bold contrasts, while soft eggshell blues and whites appear more quietly in unassuming lines and backgrounds. Nature runs rampant within the textures of the photographs, and while the specifics of the photographs are up for interpretation, perhaps one can glean the images to be of frozen leaves amidst outdoor icy residue, or even a microscopic view of bacteria against the glass and light of a petri dish.

Untitled, 4 , 2017. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 35 × 34 in (88.9 × 86.4 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery

Untitled, 4, 2017. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 35 × 34 in (88.9 × 86.4 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery


Finkelstein does not engage in post-production or software editing but rather completes her work in the darkroom. Her chromogenic prints are created using drafting film, a matte-translucent material, as the canvas. Tape is placed across the film to create the geometric grids, upon which Finkelstein applies her India ink for color. The canvas is backlit from behind and the process is perfected; a photograph is taken of the artwork and it is then finalized.

Untitled, 1  , 2017. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 25 × 34 in (63.5 × 86.4 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery

Untitled, 1 , 2017. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 25 × 34 in (63.5 × 86.4 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery


There is an enveloping facet of entropy and forceful energy present in the gridwork of her pieces; an energy that gives light to organized chaos. As good artwork tends to do, Finkelstein’s pieces delve into the sphere of the paradoxical. There is the deliberate intention and there is uncontrollable chaos. There are deep and rich contrasts as well as softly feathered and crawling dribbles. It is, all at once, the natural weaved against the unnatural, and each individual image carries its own connotations and impressions, ranging in tones of light and darkness.

To truly look and see Finkelstein’s art is to experience a celebration of the unpredictability of nature and life; there is a natural order that begins with creation and ends in destruction, but in between this opening and closing lies the middle ground that is life, in which Finkelstein so adeptly recounts through her images.

If only (composition for now with detritus), 6 , 2018. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 56 × 37 in (142.2 × 94 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery

If only (composition for now with detritus), 6, 2018. Amy Finkelstein. Traditional c-print from 8x10 negative. 56 × 37 in (142.2 × 94 cm) © Amy Finkelstein. Courtesy of Elizabeth Houston Gallery


Elizabeth Houston Gallery


December 12, 2018 - January 26, 2019


Hours: Tuesday – Saturday,11 AM to 6 PM


190 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

For more information, visit here.



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