James Turrell: Light Leadings features five installations from the artist’s Tall Glass series as well as nine reflection light works and three transmission light works from 2005-2007.
The Tall Glass series utilize a computer controlled color array contained within a wall aperture to generate a light field defined by the transformation of color. Installations entitled Sensing Thought, Color Within and As Imagined, all termed Tall Glass works, are constructed from a core of Neon lights that Turrell has individually programmed to subtly shift color over a period of time. Each piece is constructed to create a tangible and physical plane of light. The artist has likened the processional development of colors to a musical system utilizing themes and variations. Installations entitled Sojourn, Stand Alone, and Light Leadings are similar but with an array of LED lights that are programmed over time. The physical construction of these works relates to the earlier series called Shallow Space Constructions from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Turrell’s light works, made using a holographic process that the artist has developed over the past two decades, will also be included in the exhibition. Nine of the small reflection light works will accompany three of the large transmission light works, the latter being viewed for the first time in this show. Measuring six feet in height, the large transmission light works have afforded the artist a greater ability to manipulate the visual picture plane.
Turrell’s holographic works are closely related to his Projection Series. Begun in 1966, these works use projected light to create perceptual volumes, such as cubes or pyramids as well as planes of light. Some appear to float in the corner of the room while others are anchored to the floor. A third group consists of planes of light that connect to the ceiling, corner or floor. These works isolate the ways in which light can be given substance in a space where it interacts with the viewer and make the wall into a picture plane.
In the large transmission light works as well as the smaller reflection light works, Turrell reexamines the phenomenon of the Projections. As in many of the works from the ‘60s, a sheet of intense light is at the center of the light work, but these elements are now liberated from the surface of the wall and tilt radically through the ambiguous space of the glass. In this way the artist manages to convey a new sense of mass and physicality on these planes of light.