Playing with space

By Jennifer Babolik



“From the Outer Regions” is the current exhibit featuring various works from artist Chris Rackley in the Lillian Davis Hogan Gallery. Rackley focuses on outer space through painting, videography, and creating moving contraptions.

Rackley has been making videos and contraptions since 2010. His passion for science fiction filmmaking led to his understanding of optical illusions and how to build them.

“The use of paintings and optical tricks to create the illusion of space was common practice in science fiction film until the 2000s, having been in use since Georges Méliès began making films in the 1890s,” said Rackley. Many of his paintings and videos are so realistic, the viewer may feel as if he or she is looking at outer space.


Student looking at contraption

Student Andrew Becker views one of Rackley’s contraptions, Protosystems.
Photo by Jennifer Babolik

Rackley’s contraptions combine sculpture and painting with motion and a live video feed that displays on old television screens. The distance and size of the sculpted objects in relation to the camera create the illusion. One of the purposes of Rackley’s contraptions is to give the viewer an experience similar to actually being in space.


Chris Rackley's piece: Whence Is the Ground

Viewers are encouraged to interact with Whence is the Ground by dropping spheres to make craters.
Photo by Jennifer Babolik

Rackley is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about outer space. “There will be new pieces for the show related to what I’ve been learning about comets and asteroids as relic materials from the early days of the formation of our solar system,” said Rackley.

“From the Outer Regions” is on display in the Lillian Davis Hogan Gallery until Feb. 27.


Author: The Cardinal

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