Frequently, my mother would remind me that I entered into a family that was grieving. My birth directly followed a period of near constant familial loss, which I see as the dawning of my lifelong obsession with mortality. A destiny, even. My early years were spent praying feverishly that those around me would continue to live, as if I only existed through my most precious relationships. I grieved deaths that had yet to happen. I practiced mourning like I was conditioning a muscle, and habitual lamentation rooted itself in my personhood. My relationship to death became intensely intimate when I began to caretake for my mother, grandmother, and great aunt, all in various stages of dying and disability. As each one would fade, I noticed how their possessions, both precious and mundane, crept from their respective resting places and haunted me. As those objects prepared to become vessels, I understood my relationship to mourning through them, they were a direct repository for the memory and veneration of those absent. Through this – I seek to engage with the practice of mourning in a nebulous and celebratory manner; questioning the ways in which it manifests as a physical language in our home, and bodies. My photographically centered installations plead for permanence or a chance to evade an end through the realm of abundance and physicality. While this work draws from personal experience, recent national and global events have pushed the act of mourning to the forefront of our lives. And as it seeps further into everyday happenings; my long-term goal is to provide opportunities for people to reexamine their relationship to mourning in an attempt to create more community connectivity and support. Death and my work have always had a complicated relationship but through my studio practice I am able to distill instances where cosmic absence seems close, warm, and strangely welcoming.
About the artist:
M. Albertson (b. 1994, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a multidisciplinary installation artist that currently lives and works in Richmond, Virginia. Born and raised in a matriarchal working class Italian-American family, Albertson often pulls from their familial experiences to question how pervasive intangible spaces manifest in our lives physically. They examine how identity can influence our access to said spaces and what it means to bear witness to cosmic events such as death and ecstasy. Catholic iconography and themes often play a pivotal role in the aesthetics of their work and performances. While they are not outright religious they’ve recognized and accepted religiosity into their practice as a way to explore its relationship to their queer identity and disability.
The View From Here
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