Originally from Kentucky, Carey Gough has lived in Shrewsbury, England for more than a decade.
In recent years, Gough has been making trips home to photograph sites in Kentucky that are significant in the history of folk music—places featured in song lyrics or connected to prominent musicians.
These images are meditations on nostalgia and identity. The sites Gough photographs are often abandoned or dilapidated; time has taken its toll on the places immortalized in bluegrass music. Her work documents environments that loom large in the cultural history of the region, but which have nevertheless fallen into disrepair.
The project is also deeply personal. As an expatriate, Gough uses folk music as a lifeline—a way of accessing home from afar. The tension between what she captures with her camera and the mythical Kentucky that can only exist in song lyrics imbues these photographs with a sense of loss and impermanence.
These images are also politically charged, addressing the role of indigence, violence and religion in the culture of the rural American South. However, Gough never casts the citizens of the region in a pejorative light. Intensely aware of the controversy surrounding the exploitation of Appalachian poverty by photographers such as Shelby Lee Adams, she has chosen to include few people in these pictures. Gough earned her M.F.A. in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport. Her recent projects have been featured in Wired Magazine, Vice Magazine, and the Louisville Courier-Journal.
A Music So Subtle and Vast will be on view at Institute 193, N. Limestone St., Lexington, KY through November 9.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to Institute 193 with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
LexArts has provided funding support for Institute 193 through its Fund for the Arts.
Opening Reception: October 10th from 6-8pm
Address: 193 North Limestone, Lexington, Kentucky, 40507
Hours of Operation: 11-6, Wednesday-Saturday