James Turrell was born in Los Angeles in 1943. His undergraduate studies at Pomona College focused on psychology and mathematics; only later, in graduate school, did he pursue art, receiving an MFA from the Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California. Turrell's work involves explorations in light and space that speak to viewers without words, impacting the eye, body, and mind with the force of a spiritual awakening.Read More
'I want to create an atmosphere that can be consciously plumbed with seeing,' says the artist,
'like the wordless thought that comes from looking in a fire.'
Informed by his studies in perceptual psychology and optical illusions, Turrell's work allows us to see ourselves 'seeing.' Whether harnessing the light at sunset or transforming the glow of a television set into a fluctuating portal, Turrell's art places viewers in a realm of pure experience.
Situated near the Grand Canyon and Arizona's Painted Desert is Roden Crater, an extinct volcano the artist has been transforming into a celestial observatory for the past thirty years. Working with cosmological phenomena that have interested man since the dawn of civilisation and have prompted responses such as Stonehenge and the Mayan calendar, Turrell's crater brings the heavens down to earth, linking the actions of people with the movements of planets and distant galaxies. His fascination with the phenomena of light is ultimately connected to a very personal, inward search for mankind's place in the universe. Influenced by his Quaker faith, which he characterises as having a 'straightforward, strict presentation of the sublime,' Turrell's art prompts greater self-awareness through a similar discipline of silent contemplation, patience, and meditation. His ethereal installations enlist the common properties of light to communicate feelings of transcendence and the divine.
Turrell's work is represented in numerous public collections including the Tate Modern, London; the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and Hansol Museum, Wonju, Verese (Italy) Panza Foundation.
The artist, who embraces 'bad' painting, joined the gallery in November 2020.
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The long-awaited James Turrell light installation has finally launched at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art. The gallery threw the switch on the Night Life 2018 last night. It will now illuminate the eastern and southern façades of GOMA every evening, with shifting patterns of coloured light from sunset to midnight.
MASS MoCA, the vast, multibuilding museum of contemporary art here, is a weird and wonderful place. For one, the dominance of brick walls, wood floors, big windows and frequent columns of its repurposed 19th-century factory buildings is the apotheosis of SoHo, whose small-industry loft spaces were taken over by commercial art galleries in the...
Light can be bright and dull, clear and murky, or velvety and abrasive. In James Turrell's Perfectly Clear (1991), the viewer is subjected to an electromagnetic storm, a cascade of colors: rose, magenta, turquoise. Here, the medium is light, or, rather, the human optical-neurological apparatus that apprehends light. After putting on shoe covers...
The master plan for MASS MoCA in 1986 was a wildly ambitious dream: to simultaneously rehabilitate all 28 buildings of a shuttered 19th-century factory in this depressed Berkshire County town for the long-term display of monumental art installations.
An introspective James Turrell invites you to surrender under the immateriality of light with "Gathered Sky," a spellbinding permanent installation in Beijing's Temple Hotel. Three decades after turning the Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in Arizona, into a celestial work of art that was recently exhibited at the Guggenheim and Los...