Roden Crater No Image

Pure light is the medium of James Turrell's art. Except for models, drawings, and prints that relate to his larger works, most of Turrell's oeuvre is not an object of any kind. The artist provides plans for architectural constructions indoors or outdoors that are designed to capture and present light. The work is not the construction itself, but the experience of light and time that it provides. In pure fields of luminous color, Turrell's work contains no image other than its own light. Most of Turrell's light work is based on the principles of a Ganzfeld- that is, a field of light so indistinct that it has no perceivable foreground or background, and no point of focus.

Light has been a central theme in the history of Western painting both for its formal properties of illumination and vision and its deep secular and religious iconography. Turrell notes that while light is a constant presence in life and in art, little attention is paid to its artistic potential. He also notes that since the invention of the light bulb over a century ago, no one has created an artificial lamp that, for example, can be adjusted to produce different colors of the spectrum. Turrell draws no distinction between "natural" and "artificial" light, since both have exactly the same physical properties, and the same source: something burning. Perhaps no artist in history has exploited the artistic potential of light more deeply than James Turrell.

Interface between Exterior and Interior Light     Mendota Stoppages
Skyspaces     Cross-Corner Projections     Irish Sky Garden