Lia Halloran, "Dark Skate"
Tue Sep 2 2008
Photograph: Courtesy DCKT Contemporary
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Lia Halloran is not your typical skater girl. The daughter of a scientist, she was featured in Thrasher magazine at age 16, and went on to get an M.F.A. from Yale University’s department of painting and printmaking. These cosmic forces collided when she received a grant to study the night sky with scientists in Chile in 2000.
Halloran’s experience with astrophotography turned out to be a eureka moment and the basis for her current work. With a light strapped to her wrist or head, Halloran spent 18 months skateboarding late at night in deserted locations around Los Angeles. Accompanied by a friend or venturing alone, Halloran used time-lapse photography to capture the dynamic motion of light as she navigates sites like the L.A. riverbed, Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park and assorted east L.A. parking lots. Because of the long exposure, Halloran disappears, leaving only her luminous skate lines as traces of her presence.
Such nocturnal escapades mesh subversive, bad-girl attitude with a nod to historical precedents—escaping from view and possibly the law through the power of art, while also performing a postmodern riff on Henry Fox Talbot’s Pencil of Nature (the pioneering 1844 book in which Talbot introduced the calotype, precursor of the modern photograph). In Halloran’s revision, light not only reveals the natural world, but also conceals it. In doing so, she brings together art and science as two equally wondrous and fallible systems of knowledge.