The work of Jeanne C. Finley is powered by the friction created between despair and its antidote, engaged storytelling. Finley marries the fictional with the documentary, the still with the moving image, the vernacular with cultivated elegance, the mythic with the mundane, and monumental social forces with the most humble of narratives. — Mark Alice Durant
Jeanne C. Finley works in film, video, photography, and installation to create hybrid documentary and expanded cinema projects. These projects utilize a variety of forms including site-specific projections, theatrical screenings, and engaged participatory events to reflect on the contested past, the turbulent present, and the unpredictable future. Finley weaves a discursive fabric between the imaginary and the document, allowing them to inform and challenge one another. She is a frequent collaborator with artists, scientists, audience, and subjects. Since 1989 she has completed many films and installations with John Muse.
Finley is a member of the Threshold Choir and frequently incorporates the choir and songs into her work. She has created projects through residencies at the Wexner Center Media Arts Program, Headlands Center for the Arts, the Camargo Foundation in France, the Arts Link Fellowship in Bosnia and Kazakhstan, the Fulbright Fellowship in Belgrade and the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Foundation in Istanbul, among others. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Guggenheim Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and New York Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, and the George Pompidou Center. She has received many grants, including a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Capital Foundation grant, Cal Arts/Alpert Award, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and the Phelan Award. Her gallery work is represented by the Patricia Sweetow Gallery and her films are distributed by Video Data Bank, Women Make Movies, and Electronic Arts Intermix.
During her 2022 residency, Finley re-imagined The Napoleon Room, a site-specific projection installation originally installed at the Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France. The new work maintains some of the thematic concerns of the original work, but updates it with the contents of her Mother's trunk that Finley discovered that hadn't been opened since the 1940's. The trunk contained hundreds of documents on her mother's time in the Red Cross during the liberation of Southern France in WWII. The new work will be a film and installation that is not site-specific and will be donated to the Red Cross with the entire archive of materials.