JAMES TURRELL: AN ARTIST SPANNING THE BIG AND THE SMALL

James Turrell is a California artist who brings to us the generally unsuspected sophistication of the wherewithal of the West Coast. His work is about the play of light, including sunlight, a commodity he would have been richly imbued with while growing up in the LA district of Pasadena.

In drawing skylight into a dark interior, he has found a way to alert us to elemental inspirations. There is the factor of our sensibilities, thus galvanized, being lifted by the uncanniness of the incursions.
And, at the same time, there is the factor of the depths of our individual sensibilities, thus galvanized, forming a vital component of the presence of those electrodynamic initiatives.

A recent Time Magazine article cites “his Quaker upbringing,” and the maxim, “going inside to greet the light.” This meditative action would, however, include a complication for what might seem to be simplistic grooving. The inspired venturer would, along with his surfing the rays, be in the midst of making things happen with others. And other are not apt to be as celestial as awesome, fervidly giving light.

The article alludes to his now getting around to broaching this problematic. The range of works in that vein (involved in his three big museum shows of this summer—in LA, Houston and NYC) do not, it seems, gain such easy and ardent confirmation.

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