The Longest Night

The Longest Night

Elaine Buss

07/14/2023 - 5:00pm

July 14th, 2023 to August 26th, 2023


LUX Center for the Arts is proud to present "The Longest Night" a solo exhibtion by Elaine Buss. 

Elaine Buss grew up in the wide-open prairie fields of Lively Grove, Illinois. Her installations and sculptures explore ambiguity and the nondescript, specifically in relation to the sensory, ineffable, and intangible experience of inhabiting a human body. She earned an MFA at Ohio State University (Studio Art, 2018) and a BFA at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (Ceramics, 2010). Elaine currently serves as Foundation Faculty at Kansas City Art Institute. Her metaphorical approach to materials has garnered multiple recognitions; highlights include the Inspiration Grant (ArtsKC, 2022), Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist Award (2019), The International Award for Visual and Performing Arts (Ohio State, 2016), and an ArtistInc Fellowship (Mid-America Arts Alliance, 2015). She is a 2022-2024 Charlotte Street Foundation Resident in their interdisciplinary program.



To create my forms, I decontextualize historical utilitarian objects. My references include ancient grinding stones, water pipes, vertical loom weights, arches, and building fragments, among others. Anthropological sources provide a place of empathy with past humans and a way to understand my own humanity more thoroughly. I choose sources that reveal direct logic, touch, or process and then use the same visual language in my own forms. The resulting sculptures are not meant to allude to any specific origin or culture, but rather remain anonymous and elusive. 

Sacred spaces are integral to my research. I seek sublime effect, sometimes through balance and harmony, sometimes through materiality. It is important to note that by “sublime”, I am referencing that moment of capture when one concedes their presence to being enraptured in an experience. Sacred spaces are constructed with proportions, details, shapes, and attention to light in a way that resonates with a similar experience for many.

Floating between particular objects and ambiguously referential forms, I embrace the nondescript. This otherness feels indiscernible; I am fascinated by the space between knowing and searching. I find mystery to be one of the most compelling emotions, and I try to arrive at a sense instead of a certainty in my work. It is humbling to be reminded that there is still so much beyond our empirical grasp. The ambiguous forms that I create relate to my own ineffable experience as a human; they remind me that it’s ok to exist in the space of the indeterminate.

Back to blog