The artist duo who found a way to frame light
Ahead of Houston’s third-annual Day for Night festival—which brings together music and forward-thinking art—we’re visiting some of the New York-based artists in their studios.
Katherine Brice and Chris Lunney—who together make up Hovver studio—met in a class at Parsons. Brice was a graduate student in the architecture program. Lunney was an undergrad shuffling between art and technology classes. Both wished for more freedom in their disciplines—until they met one another and started collaborating.
“There was all the music and nightlife stuff I was interested in, and then there was installation work, more museum-based stuff I was working on in class,” Lunney says. “But the fold in the middle was what I was really interested in. It was kind of difficult to explore that, because my work was often too museum for a rave and too rave for a museum.” Likewise, Brice felt hemmed in by the restrictions of architecture. “It started to feel like the promise of architecture school didn’t apply to the reality of the job,” she says. Since joining forces in 2014, the two Brooklyn-based artists have been happily infusing their technical prowess with whimsy and wonder, and building dreamlike installations that expand the confines of art and design.
Hovver’s most fully realized work to date is Liminal Scope, which first debuted earlier this year in a show at Industry City. (A newer, much larger form of the work will show at Day for Night.) The installation uses three suspended rings to frame light as it travels through the air, and make it do seemingly magical things. “We began experimenting with how to define space,” Lunney says. “We were bouncing around mirrors and light, and using whatever reflectors we could find. There was a moment when we curved one of these mirrors and realized, ‘Woah, we just made a parabola midair.’”
The pair had, essentially, replicated the shimmering conversion and dispersion of light that occurs on the bottom of a swimming pool on a sunny day—but without the surrounding water. With the addition of a score featuring harmonic frequencies, Liminal Scope was born. “The idea is that there are things beyond our perceptual horizons that remain unseen,” Brice explains. “So we created a meditation through color, through movement, and through sound.”
Experimentation—and play—is at the forefront of Brice and Lunney’s practice, and it’s something they hope is reflected back in their work. “We go around the world and as we get older we get more constrained,” Brice says. “It’s really nice to push people to step outside of those boundaries and be adventurous and see things in a different way … In a different light, you might say.”
HOVVER’S LIMINAL SCOPE RUNS DECEMBER 15 THROUGH 17 AT DAY FOR NIGHT FESTIVAL IN HOUSTON, TEXAS. TO SEE MORE OF THE PARTICIPATING ARTISTS, CLICK HERE.