Now it is concave, now it is convex; ephemeral as mist, solid as an inflated balloon, and always nothing but color and light reflecting, fluctuating, teasing the brain. Engaging with the work of James Turrell, the mind does not so much reel as it dances between perceptions, grabbing hold of forms even as they shift in shape and dissolve into light leaving us hovering much of the time in the in-between.
I usually hate it when people slap the word ‘Zen’ on art, but this is one instance where the term might actually be useful, pointing us toward the works’ koan-like effects, whether in the installation that engulfs the Guggenheim’s spiral lobby or in the not-to-be-missed aquatints
or hard-edged geometric forms made of what feels like tangible, solid light.
One last thing: Mr. Turrell talks about light’s physicality and the widening of our pupils at twilight. Makes sense. Don’t our pupils widen when we see something or someone we desire? As though by opening them wide enough we can touch with our very sight?