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Paying homage to white

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By The Staff

Off and on throughout his life, Henry Finney has made art. It was not, however, his first profession. “I was a sociologist … for 20 years (but) I’ve been making art all my life,” he said.

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It would become a major part of his life. Finney realized that while working as a sociologist was rewarding, it “did not satisfy the right side of my mind.”

There was another side to Finney that needed to be expressed.

As a result, he began to study art and ultimately received a master’s degree from the Pratt Institute in New York City.

When Finney moved to Los Alamos, he showed his work at a gallery in Santa Fe.  

In the midst of his blossoming artistic career, a family tragedy occurred.

As a result, Finney put his paints away for 10 years.

Recently, he decided to takeout his art supplies once again and to mark this decision, Finney is hosting a show in the Unitarian Church.

The show titled, “Homage to White: Explorations of Form and Emptiness,” opened Wednesday at the church and will continue to run through Feb. 26. A reception will be held from 4-6 p.m. Saturday in the Sanctuary.

Additionally, at 5 p.m. Saturday, Finney will discuss his work.

He will continue to speak about his art at 9:10 a.m. on Jan. 24 at the church. All works are for sale and 30 percent of the proceeds will go toward the Unitarian Church.

The show, he explained, “turns out to be a symbolic declaration that I’m returning to my art.”

It is a reunion that Finney said he is happy to experience. He described it as “wonderful.”

Throughout his career as an artist, Finney has taken a lot of turns. One of these turns included going from painting representational works to abstract ones.

He continues his work as an abstract artist in the upcoming show.  

In a press release, he stated the show consists of approximately a dozen paintings, most of which articulate a dialogue in which he has long been engaged between abstract figuration and an embedding atmosphere of off-white.  

Finney said white is sometimes interpreted to be the leftovers on a canvas or an empty void. However, he explained emptiness is not a void but a relationship between space and the things in the space.

During several extended residencies at the Vermont Studio School, now named the Vermont Studio Center, he became a student of one of German abstract expressionist painter Hans Hoffman’s protégés, James Gahagan. In 1994, he completed his mater’s degree in painting at Pratt Institute. Much of his art may be found in numerous private collections across the country, including IBM’s collection in Essex Junction, Vermont.

His work has also been accepted in many juried exhibitions, including both Santa Fe and New York City.  

Until it closed, he was represented by the Santa Fe Contemporary Art Gallery.