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The Lightsmith

Nikki Grattan | July 20, 2012 | Lifestyle Story Reviews Culture

Visiting Chris Fraser at his studio at Real Time and Space, an artists’ residency program in downtown Oakland, you’re first asked to take off your shoes. Then Fraser turns off the light. As you stand staring at a blank wall, feeling vulnerable in your not-so-glamorous socks, a bit of magic happens: Sharp lines of light cut through the darkness, drawing out a luminescent triangle where seconds ago there was an empty corner. You get the sense that the glowing triangle is actually a doorway, one you suddenly want to step through.

Many of Fraser’s site-specific projects, like this one, use optical tricks to transform mundane spaces into fantastical portals of light and shadow. Though the techniques—often modified takes on camera obscura—are simple, the results are breathtakingly dramatic. Fraser’s work has already lit up a number of sites this year: the aforementioned studio at Real Time and Space; an unassuming dining room in a now-demolished house in Cow Hollow, part of Highlight Gallery’s project “3020 Laguna Street in Exitum”; and a gallery at Sacramento’s Center for Contemporary Art, where Fraser is “nesting” one room within another (through July 1). Next up, a six-week show at Highlight Gallery’s new Kearny Street space, starting September 6.

In The Make is an online arts journal featuring studio visits with artists and designers. This is the first in a monthly series apprearing exclusively in San Francisco.


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