Posts Tagged ‘james turrell’

Artist of the moment…….James Turrell

The artist was born in 1943 in Pasadena, California. His parents were both Quakers. His father was a space engineer, his mother was educated to be a doctor.

Turrell is a pioneer and is perhaps the most widely known artist working with light. He is widely known for his current and on going project the Roden Center. The center is a natural crater in the earth that he his making into an observatory. The crater is on property the artist owns just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.

A clip from a wonderful series done via PBS about artists called ART 21. In this series you can meet firsthand artists like Mark Bradford, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Louise Bourgouis. Turrell and his desert project were subject of this interview.

Another great interview with the artist whilst he was at a Moscow museum. Its in English with Russian subtitles. The artist talks about how and why his focus is actual light not the painting of light.

A project that opened in June of this year at Rice University called the Turrell Skyspace.

Though primarily a sculptor the artist used other mediums such as watercolor, pastels, etchings, glass, collage, pencil, and ink.

High price range:  Ink work for $180,000. Pencil for $57,000. Glass work for $56,000.

Low price range: Encuastic work for $15,000. Etchings can be found for less than one thousand dollars.

Turrell was able to get a pilots license at the age of sixteen. He was able to earn money by flying supplies to mines that were hard to get to. He earned a bachelors degree from Pomono College in psychology. Earned a masters degree from Claremont Graduate School.

The artist started working with light in 1966 and alongside Doug Wheeler and Robert Irwin the trio was known as the Light and Space group. With Sam Francis the artist made sky drawings.

The artist is also a quaker and designed a meeting with an opening in the roof to view light, the light has a religious meaning. Turrell has come to call these works SKYSCAPES. This is the type of work located at Rice University.  Turrell has built skyscape projects around the world in locations such as Spain and England.

Turrell has made works of art like one titled “Acton.” The viewer walks into the room and sees a blank canvas.  The viewer walks closer only to see that the canvas is not a canvas at all,  but rather a hole in the wall that is enhanced by the Turrell’s wonderful use of  light.

I enjoy this artist most for his ability to work on such large scale projects. After looking at tens of thousands of images where there is a subject and the artist must paint the affect of light on the subject, it was very new and interesting to see an artwork whose subject was light plain and simple.