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Light in Spaces: Installations by James Turrell

A light installation using natural and artificial white lightVeils

James Turrell is an installation artist who, in recent years, has developed a style that celebrates light in spaces. Turrell’s installations are often minimal, using lights in single saturated colours or complimentary colour combinations to create different moods and feelings within a space.


While the artist equally favors bright, neon colours and natural lighting, I really enjoy the works where Turrell enhances the qualities of light within a space. The above work, Veils, uses a combination of natural and artificial light to create sheets of pure, neutral light that appear to move across the space. While the movements of the light in the work are not tethered to conditions outside, it’s easy to believe that the light is streaming in through a well-designed skylight.


An installation work featuring a long blue light tunnelThe Light Inside

Other works of Turrells become more like tangible objects, lit geometric shapes that exist on walls in darkened gallery spaces, and take on an iconographic appearance. Turrell is currently working on a large-scale immersive installation which will be housed inside a volcanic crater. 


A photo of a person in a field  of purple lightBreathing Light

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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