Vanessa Marsh: The Sun Beneath the Sky
Portfolio Introduction
Early morning looking out the airplane window watching as the mist rises off the peaks and valleys below. Sunlight filters through the moisture creating discrete layers of landscape; monochromatic and shifting with the movement of the sun, of the atmosphere and of my perspective flying above. The granite and basalt below appear ethereal though the clouds, somehow not solid, and it is easy to image from this height the tectonic forces creating the terrain over millennia; sea bed smashed up and wrinkled, turned on its edge, shifted and tilted. The transformation mostly slow and barely perceptible, but then sometimes violent and quick; a sudden upheaval creating new topographies.

The series The Sun Beneath the Sky reflects upon the nature of light, atmosphere, geology and time. Layers of pastel toned mountains and valleys rise and fall under sunlit skies. Glowing light rakes through transparent mountain tops reminiscent of how the landscape appears through mist, smog or the haze of wildfire smoke. The images evoke a sense of the sublime, recalling the beauty of the natural world while meditating on the scale of geologic structures within it.

The Sun Beneath the Sky continues my long-term practice of using cut paper, multiple exposures, and dodging and burning techniques to create cameraless photographic landscapes. Each unique lumen print is made by selectively exposing silver gelatin paper to sunlight and then processing the paper in photo chemicals to affix the image. In this way, sunlight acts as both subject matter and medium.

Both the mountains and the Sun provide the means to contemplate deep time. From the perspective of a single human life, they are permanent and mostly unchanging, yet we know they have evolved and changed overtime. The images in this series allow the opportunity for the quiet contemplation of these greater forces and highlight both the beauty and the catastrophe of the present moment.

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