Born in Brooklyn, Lawrence Finney studied art at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, the School of the Visual Arts, New York City and Warren County Community College, New Jersey. This oil is typical of the series made between 1993 and 2003 with heroic, stylized figures, greatly influenced by Charles White, George Tooker, the Mexican muralists and social realism in general. Finney’s paintings were included in the 2002 Studio Museum in Harlem exhibition Black Romantic. The Figurative Impulse in Contemporary African American Art and the 2006 University of Houston exhibition from the Collections of Corrine Jennings and Joe Overstreet.
Finney's art gives the viewer an up-close glimpse of everyday men and women at the cusps of spiritual or emotional awakening. He concentrates on subject matter of people from the streets of urban cities, rural life in the South and vaguely surreal settings. For heightened impact Finney practices expressive distortion of his figures, described as monumentally robust and of titanic strength, contrasted with gentle disposition and setting. An important symbolic device he utilizes is the use of light, which conveys a spiritual mood. Through light expressed in a setting's central glow or some figures emitting a supernatural glow. Finney concentrates on controlled strength, spiritual depth and human potential expressed in the style of an imagined reality.
His present work now, is focused in terms of spiritual meaning, centered on my Christian faith by utilizing a style more reflective of the observed natural world, light still an important element in the work. The works are some didactic, incorporating text and some metaphorical, intended though not required to be viewed through a Biblical/Christian prism.