Studio Visit: Chris Fraser’s Otherworldly Light Installations

As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with installation artist Chris Fraser. See the full studio visit and interview with Chris  and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.

When we visited Oakland-based artist Chris Fraser at his studio at Real Time & Space he first asked us to take off our shoes, then he turned off the lights. All of sudden, as I stood staring at a blank wall, feeling vulnerable in my not so glamorous socks, a bit of magic happened. Sharp lines of light cut through the darkness, drawing out a luminescent triangle where seconds ago there had only been an empty corner and bare walls. I moved closer. The dark room seemed infinite and the glowing triangle like a doorway. I had the urge to walk through it and the sense that I actually could, and that something extraordinary was on the other side.

Many of Chris’s site-specific projects are interventions into already existent architectural spaces in which he uses straightforward techniques to create unexpected optical experiences. Essentially, he employs the principle of the camera obscura to manipulate the way light enters a room. By strategically creating holes and slits in walls, he is able to coax and direct light into specific directions and shapes, transforming once familiar surroundings into fantastical, poignant spaces.

Experimentation is key to Chris’s process, and he thrives off the chance to create within different environments. Earlier this year, he had the opportunity to work in two distinctive spaces: a small box-like room at Real Time & Space, where he was an artist-in-residence, and the dining room in a soon to be demolished house in Cow Hollow that was opened up to multiple artists for Highlight Gallery‘s inaugural site-specific project, 3020 Laguna Street in Exitum. In Chris’s careful hands both rooms were reimagined, becoming portals to another world.

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