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Deep Sky Companion Exhibition Opening

Sunday, June 5, 2016
3:00pm to 5:30pm
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Lia Halloran: Deep Sky Companion exhibition opens at Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology Opening Reception: June 5th, 2016 3:00pm-5:30pm. Exhibition walk-through with Dr. Kip Thorne and Lia Halloran, 4:00pm. Los Angeles-based artist Lia Halloran tests the boundaries between seeing, classifying, and reproducing deep-sky objects against those catalogued by French astronomer Charles Messier. Her new site-specific work, Deep Sky Companion, is both an adaptation and variation on the visual data comprising Messier's 110 deep sky objects that he observed in his attempt to chart comets (when, in fact, he had "accidentally" observed whole galaxies and interstellar nebulae). Halloran's exhibition site is architect Thom Mayne's building for the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology. Slanted ceilings, extreme planes, and every possible expression of asymmetry are ideal settings for Halloran's iterations of Messier's amorphous cosmic bodies. The works climb upwards through three stories at varying distances from the viewer; installation directly mimics the inherent difficulty a person would experience in looking at objects in deep space. Halloran collaborated with architect David Ross, of the Frederick and Fisher Partners Architects and past student of Thom Mayne, on the physical and structural layout of the exhibition. The works themselves are divided into two formats: self-animating blue ink on drafting film (just as light and matter travel gracefully through deep space, so does this deep-blue ink across a print) and camera-less prints on photosensitive paper which appear in a similar way to specks of light appearing against the vacuum of deep space. There are one or more "coincidences" in her process relating to that of Messier's sequential cataloguing of celestial bodies; shapes, densities, shades, and compositions are mostly matters of chance when dealing with her inks and prints, but Halloran's methods are entirely premeditated. She has selected a subject in Messier himself that communicates both his frustration and wonder in equal parts. While he was searching out comets, his actual results proved to be ever greater in scope, far greater than he could see or quantify. Our own observations transform and fluctuate, based on what technology makes available, but both the artist and the astronomer will push further into interpreting what sorts of phenomena our universe holds. Halloran's work echoes Messier's own discoveries as those which are open-ended and unresolvable. In other words, what appears on Halloran's films are progressive, changeable things rather than permanent markers. Lia Halloran received her BA in Art from UCLA in 1999 and studied astronomy while pursuing her MFA (Painting and Printmaking) at Yale in 2001. Halloran's work often uses science as a conceptual bounding point; to explore how perception, time and scale inform a constant desire to understand our physical and psychological relationship to the world we inhabit. Halloran has participated in several interdisciplinary projects and collaborations to curate exhibitions, produce critical dialogues on contemporary art, and create work that explores connections in science and art, including an upcoming book with Professor Kip Thorne about the 'warped side of the universe'. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at venues in New York, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, London, Vienna and Florence. Her work is held in the public collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Speyer Family Collection (New York), The Progressive Art Collection (Cleveland), and the Art Museum of South Texas. Halloran has been profiled in publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, ArtNews, and New York Magazine. Halloran was awarded an Art Works for Visual Arts Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for her project, 'Your Body is A Space That Sees', highlighting the historical contribution of women in astronomy. It is accompanied by her solo project, Deep Sky Companion at Caltech. Halloran lives and works in Los Angeles and serves as Assistant Professor of Art and Director of Painting and Drawing at Chapman University where she also teaches courses that look at how creativity and problem solving can be the point of intersection for art and science. This exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Dr. and Mrs. David Groce, the Caltech Department of Astronomy and by Chapman University and the Office of the Chancellor's Scholarly and Creative Activity Grant. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog designed by Claudine Jaenichen, containing contributions from Lia Halloran, Kip Thorne, Shana Beth Mason, and many Caltech scientists. For images of this body of work and other artworks, visit: Opening Reception: June 5th, 2016 3:00pm-5:30pm. Exhibition walk-through with Dr. Kip Thorne and Lia Halloran, 4:00pm. **Parking is available behind Cahill in Structure 3, or on California Street. June 5th- December 18th, 2016 Hours: 9am-5pm and by appointment
For more information, please contact Karen Payne by phone at (626) 395-2928 or by email at [email protected].