Chris Rackley: Protosystems


Chris Rackley
November 2- November 30, 2013

For our third annual fall storefront window installation project, Transformer presents Protosystems, a site-specific storefront installation by Washington, DC based artist Chris Rackley. With interest in scientific theories that attempt to explain everything that can be observed, Rackley creates contraptions and installations that explore how models and representations of reality are incomplete and incompatible, providing opportunities for imagination and play.

Chris Rackley states, “I strive to create unexpected and whimsical relationships between images and the structures that generate them. Referencing images of space based on NASA photography and science fiction films, I hope to engender conversations about the origin of the universe and the fundamental nature of reality by inviting visitors to play.” Speaking about the installation specifically, Rackley says “Protosystems began with my reading about NASA’s investigation of the asteroid belt. Sending a spacecraft to closely examine two of the largest asteroids, scientists hope to better understand how planets formed in the early days of our solar system.  The findings of this mission inform deeply felt questions and conversations about the origins of life and the possibility that it may exist on other planets, drastically altering our understanding of reality.”

When making art, Rackley creates a relationship between an image and the structure that generates it, a strategy that is deeply connected to his interest in ideas about the nature of reality, particularly in the models developed by physicists to describe our world.  Rackley says, “When I look at the everyday world and think about the invisible forces and particles that constitute it, I feel giddy because familiar surroundings begin to seem like alien landscapes and I feel as though I fully understand what I am seeing.  However, there are limits to our knowledge of reality.”

Chris Rackley earned his BA in Studio Art from Davidson College in 2000 where he also took courses in physics and mathematics. He received his MFA at George Mason University in 2012. After graduating, he taught drawing as an adjunct professor for a year before dedicating himself to full-time art making.


EXHIBITION HOURS: This storefront installation will be on view November 2 – November 30, 2013. Transformer will have our storefront security grate down Tuesday – Friday, noon – 6pm, November 2 – November 30 for a more comprehensive viewing of the work.

Image: Chris Rackley, Protosystems: Study, 2013