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For the past fifteen years, Lia Halloran’s studio practice has been in dialogue with science and nature, and discusses topics such as astrophysics, magnetism and gravity, perception and scale, giant crystal and ice caves, cabinets of curiosity, taxonomy and classification, the periodic table of elements, and interconnected relativity. Halloran grew up surfing and skateboarding in the Bay Area and developed a deep love of science while working at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, her first high school job. 

Halloran has participated in several interdisciplinary projects and collaborations including curating exhibitions, creating platforms for critical dialogue on contemporary art, and establishing connections between science and art—most notably coauthoring a forthcoming book with the award-winning theoretical physicist Kip Thorne about the warped side of the universe. Her series Deep Sky Companion, which reinterprets the 18th century French comet hunter Charles Messier’s “Catalogue of Deep Sky Objects” in 110 paintings and their 110 photographic twins, is on permanent display at the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA.

Lia Halloran was born 1977 in Chicago, IL. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Halloran received a BFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1999 and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University in 2001. 

Your Body is a Space That Sees

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Lia Halloran Triangulum, after Adelaide Ames, 2017

Lia Halloran
Triangulum, after Adelaide Ames, 2017
Cyanotype on paper from painted negative, ed. of 2
84 x 176 in.

Lia Halloran Eclipse, after Anna Palmer Draper, 2017

Lia Halloran
Eclipse, after Anna Palmer Draper, 2017
Cyanotype on paper from painted negative
46 x 76 in.

Lia Halloran Eclipse, after Anna Palmer Draper, 2017

Lia Halloran
Eclipse, after Anna Palmer Draper, 2017
Ink on architectural film
42 x 72 in.

Lia Halloran Comet, 2019

Lia Halloran
Comet, 2019
Cyanotype on paper from painted negative, ed. of 2
84 x 215 in.

Lia Halloran Globular Cluster, after Helen Sawyer, 2017

Lia Halloran
Globular Cluster, after Helen Sawyer, 2017
Ink on architectural film
72 x 72 in.

Lia Halloran Globular Cluster, after Helen Sawyer, 2017

Lia Halloran
Globular Cluster, after Helen Sawyer, 2017
Cyanotype on paper from painted negative, ed. of 2
76 x 76 in.

Lia Halloran Nebulae, after Williamina Fleming, 2017

Lia Halloran
Nebulae, after Williamina Fleming, 2017
Cyanotype on paper from painted negative, ed. of 2
76 x 76 in.

Lia Halloran Nebulae, after Williamina Fleming, 2017

Lia Halloran
Nebulae, after Williamina Fleming, 2017
Ink on architectural film
72 x 72 in.

Lia Halloran Orion Nebula, after Henrietta Leavitt, 2017

Lia Halloran
Orion Nebula, after Henrietta Leavitt, 2017
Cyanotype on paper from painted negative
40 x 25 in.

Lia Halloran Andromeda, after Molly O'Reilley, 2017

Lia Halloran
Andromeda, after Molly O'Reilley, 2017
Cyanotype on paper from painted negative, ed. of 3
45 x 45 in.

Lia Halloran Andromeda, after Molly O'Reilley, 2017

Lia Halloran
Andromeda, after Molly O'Reilley, 2017
Ink on architectural film
42 x 42 in.

Lia Halloran Paper Dolls, 2016

Lia Halloran
Paper Dolls, 2016
Cyanotype on paper from painted negative, ed. of 2
33 x 136 in.

Halloran began a new body of work is titled Your Body is a Space That Sees in 2015. This work consists of a series of large-scale cyanotypes that present the history and discoveries of a group of women known as “Pickering’s Harem,” or later as the “Harvard Computers.” Working at the Harvard Observatory from the late 1800s through the first half of the 20th century, the members of this group made significant strides in the field of astronomy through the use of photographic glass plates, establishing classification systems for the size, brightness, and chemical content of stars. The contributions of these women were highly impactful, yet they have been largely excluded from the common history of astronomy.

 

The works in Your Body is a Space That Sees offer the experience of a female-centric catalog of stellar objects in immersive cyan blue and visually illuminate the curiosity and richness of the night sky through depictions of craters, comets, galaxies, and nebula. Halloran's cyanotypes are created through a process of painting and printing, beginning with visual cues from the “Computers’” research. Translations of stellar objects are painted on semi-transparent film then placed on top of paper coated with light-sensitive emulsion—the film and paper are then exposed to direct sunlight. This process results in the production of two related works: a cyanotype print of the positive image in equal scale to its matching painted negative, both created without the use of a camera. 

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