James Turrell

When you use light, you don’t pay attention to light itself. When using light, you loose yourself and it is an escape. James Turrell brings together art and physics to create beautiful, unique perceptions to view the sky and the universe beyond it. Turrell found that he has always found something to work with, when looking at light and the outdoors. There is a sense of power that each place has.
Within one of his works, Turrell wanted the bowl shape coming out of the ground mixing hard science with art. Through this, he wanted to get the starlight and gather it, so it is physically present to feel. Spaces, such as craters allow the eye to focus on the sky, often without horizons appearing in the way. Within this piece, that has only recently been finished, Turrell had to dig through the crater, which is a monumental feat in itself.
Humanity has made an illusion of the sun rising, and the stars rising in the east. The North can be anywhere as there is no reference to the horizon, as you simply see the rotation of the Earth. This can make you somewhat feel that rotation of the Earth, because it is what your senses are concentrating on.
These sky spaces are what brings the sky down to you, on Earth.  Turrell, and those who have seen them, were never prepared for the natural effect of these. Turrell wanted some of these places to be at peace. This is partly because of his childhood in a Quaker family, and finding that you can go and greet the light literally and figuratively.
Turrell is still trying to figure out what this all means. He has spent his life on these works, as the Roden Crater took over 30 years to build, and cost him 2 marriages, a relationship and a mortgage on a ranch.
In the crater itself, there is no depth in the sky and the view, and you have this feeling you are in the atmosphere, and you are one with the universe. Normally, you come to see art and you look at it. However, the journey and the involvement that you have with the crater makes the experience much stronger.
I found that I connected very well to the passion of James Turrell in the light and in the universe. I initially wanted to complete Astrophysics at university, however I wasn’t able to get the grades and after much deliberation, I felt that it wouldn’t be for me. I hold a lot of passion in my work, as does Turrell, and the use of bringing something that we have and take granted for everyday, and to put it into the limelight, simply amazed me. It also made me appreciate light, the atmosphere, the universe, and hard work, much more.

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