James Turrell


The American artist James Turrell (b. 1943) has worked directly with light and space to create artworks that engage viewers with the limits and wonder of human perception. His fascination with the phenomena of light is related to his personal, inward search for mankind’s place in the universe. Influenced by his Quaker upbringing, which he characterizes 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. In the mid1960’s, Turrell began experimenting with light as a medium in southern California. His monumental project since 1977 at Roden Crater, is an extinct volcano in northern Arizona, by sculpting the dimensions of the crater bowl and cut a series of chambers, tunnels and apertures within the volcano, the project heighten the participants’ sense of the heavens and earth.

His work has been recognized in exhibitions in major museums around the world, including three simultaneous retrospectives in 2013 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. The recipient of several prestigious awards such as National Medal of Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Katherine T. and John D. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Science, membership in the National Academy of Arts and Letters and American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Smithsonian Archives of American Art Medal.

Related Works

Corinth Canal, The Diamond

Always On