Sometimes there is a hazy, almost tropical light that falls over the Californian Bay Area. The moisture in the air falls on the landscape and makes it appear as a series of two-dimensional planes intricately layered together. When Vanessa Marsh sees this light, she imagine these individual planes of landscape each moving freely along independent trajectories. In her imagination, the landscape becomes one of dislocated landmarks, geography and infrastructure, constantly changing. Within the series Everywhere All at Once Vanessa brings
to form these imagined landscapes and combines them with intensely starlit skies, highlighting both a personal as well as a collective experience of the world. Her goal is to make images that are familiar and dreamlike, evocative of an almost unreachable memory.
Looking out over the landscape the night sky provides a reminder of the smallness of our existence and also the vast possibilities inherent to our experience. It provides a connection between distant individuals, a jumping off point for belief systems, and an interstellar reference that helps us to navigate our world. For Vanessa, more than anything, the night sky provides a sense of space and infinity that is at once the essence of openness and possibility and also terrifyingly complex and unfathomable.
Vanessa remembers the first time she looked as a child intently out into a starry sky. She was away at summer camp up in the San Juan Islands and was sleeping outside in a field by the family’s cabin. It was dark enough to see the Milky Way; so dense it looked like a large smudge of light across the sky. Their counsellor explained that the light they were seeing took so much time and crossed so much space that the stars it was coming from may not even exist anymore. She doesn’t remember when she fell asleep that night, but she knows it was awhile that she lays there staring up, her heart pounding, realizing the vastness...
About creating photograms
To make her original photogram negatives, Vanessa Marsh layers acetate drawings on top of light sensitive paper. She then exposes the paper to light at intervals, removing a drawing at the end of each interval. This process creates a realistic depth of field and the illusion of a real landscape, despite being constructed entirely in the darkroom. Those negatives are then scanned and the image inverted into a positive image. The final prints are archival pigment prints on cotton rag. Like the content of the images the process involves both old and new elements.