Artist Lia Halloran renders the Messier sky objects anew

Artist Lia Halloran has created a set of works based on the celestial objects cataloged by astronomer Charles Messier in the 18th Century. The exhibition Deep Sky Companion is on display currently at Caltech: Art Inspired by Astronomy on Display at Caltech | Caltech 

Halloran created paintings of Messier’s objects with blue ink on semi-transparent drafting film. These were then contact-printed onto photographic paper and cut into circles evocative of the view through a telescope. Prints of each of the 110 Messier objects are displayed on the geometrically skewed lobby walls and stairwells of the Cahill building, which was designed by architect Thom Mayne. Several of the original blue-ink paintings are displayed on the stairway landings.

M 106 2013 - Lia Halloran
M106, 2013 – Lia Halloran


M27, 2013 - Lia Halloran
M27, 2013 – Lia Halloran

Halloran also has a collection called Your Body Is A Space That Sees 

… historical imagery and narratives to trace contributions of women in astronomy since antiquity. The of series of large scale cyanotype prints will interpret a fragmented history and represent a female-centric astronomical catalog of craters, comets, galaxies and nebula drawing from narrative, imagery and historical accounts of Hypatia of Alexandria, Caroline Herschel, Helen Sawyer Hogg, and a group of women at Harvard in the late 1800’s known as Pickering’s Harem or the Harvard Computers. 

Cyanotypes are printed from painted negatives that are based on the objects and narratives that were connected to these early astronomers. This process mimics early astronomical glass plates moving between transparent surfaces to a photograph without the use of a camera.

Lia Halloran
From the collection “Your Body is a Space that  Sees” – Lia Halloran

Check out Halloran’s other space inspired works in her online gallery.