All Things That Are, Are Light and Soot
September 21 - November 4, 2018
20th century Modernist poet Ezra Pound contended that light was the basis of all things in the universe; Pound summarized this belief in the phrase “all things that are, are lights,” which he attributed to the work of 9th century Irish philosopher John Scottus Eriugena, a man who was thinking cosmologically in a time of great unknowing. Pound believed that even after he was gone, some essence of the light within his person and his work - even if that work had failed - would remain.
Contemporary science may find both quarrel and accord with Pound’s beliefs but we know, speaking both literally and figuratively, that light endures, reveals, and persists. Life itself is reliant upon light, as is both memory and the work of making photographs. Inspired by the build-up of history in dirt, dust and ivy accumulated and grown over forgotten windows on industrial buildings and her own family history, photography-based artist Vanessa Albury has created mural-scaled cyanotypes of massive and filth-caked windows in our own Portland neighborhood, just several blocks from where her grandfather William Rihn had, for many years, a machine shop on Main Street and a few miles from Six Mile Island, where her Cherokee great-great-grandparents lived. A resident of Brooklyn and a native of Nashville, Albury has never lived in Louisville herself, but her family ties to the city run deep. This body of work is an attempt to reach out to and connect with her kin and grasps to record, even allegorically, some trace of their existence and legacy before those things vanish as our city and neighborhood transforms and grows. There is little history around the specifics of her Cherokee ancestors and her grandfather's shop is long gone, but the tangible remains are, for now, light and soot.
Albury was born in Nashville, TN in 1978 and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA in Studio Art from New York University’s Steinhardt School. Albury uses analog materials to discuss ephemerality and invites spontaneous occurrences in everyday moments as a means to access the sublime.