Seeing the light

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I had the opportunity to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

There was a James Turrell exhibit which I was fully prepared to skip but my daughter is just learning about light chromatography in school and wanted to see it, so we went in. I had seen one or two James Turrell light sculptures in the past but never gave them a second look, I just didn’t get it until this exhibit.

James Turrell image1

I had read up on James Turrell, and although I did not think I would enjoy the exhibit,  I found his life very interesting. He was a pilot,  a cartographer, a mathematician, had studied perceptual psychology, geology and astronomy. His father was an aeronautical engineer and his  mother a doctor in the peace corps; a bit avant-garde for the times (James Turrell was born in 1943), but unusual also in that they were quakers.

We were both completely blown away by the amazing use of light as a medium. The curation and display were phenomenal and really isolated each piece in such away that it was allowed to engulf the viewer. It is impossible to experience the effect in a photograph. The light in these pieces appears to have volume, or in the case of a framed sky, to draw you into a great welcoming void.

James Turrell Image 2

In a world of sensory overload the simplicity had the meditative quality of being in a house of worship. It was calming and nourishing on some level I can’t really explain. I only know that in some small way I have been changed by living this experience.

If you have an opportunity to experience the exhibit yourself, I recommend it highly. It will be at the LACMA until April 14th.



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