Contextual Study Point 1: Light

James Turrell is an American artist who works directly with light and space to create artworks that engage viewers with the limits and wonder of human perception.

Turrell’s medium is pure light. He says, “My work has no object, no image and no focus. With no object, no image and no focus, what are you looking at? You are looking at you looking. What is important to me is to create an experience of wordless thought.” (Turrell,2019)

In his designs he uses light to create an experience of wordless thought. Researching his work led me to the Skyspace Experience, which is a monumental light installation.

Image result for turrell skyspace
Fig. 1 Skyspace Experience, Rice University, Houston USA

By staring up at the white canvas of the roof, a cut out square of sky becomes the anchor of the color displays. The 40-minute set of colorful hues that cycle in a loop at sunset are spellbinding. As a visitor you get overwhelmed by the simplicity of the installation; colors that morph in and out of each other in a white open-air temple to contemporary art but with time and the progression of color movement, the art becomes apparent. Once the colors start and twilight begins, the miraculous effects of nature take place in harmony with Turrell’s art. Pink becomes raspberry becomes a montage of childhood memories in ice cream cones, and Australian sunsets. Orange becomes saffron and then vermillion. (Garcia-Vasquez, 2015)

I love the simple idea of being in an outdoor space and looking at the sky at sunset, to then be spellbound by colours, colours that change and morph in and out of each other, most likely to be looking at the stars in the sky at twilight sounds magical and a great therapy to relax and be at one with art and the outdoors.

More research led me to find other artists that have used light in their art work, both Claude Monet and Paul Strand have art work using the light. Monet painted the Rouen Cathedral capturing the light in the morning haze. Whereas Paul Strand replicated real life by using a camera at a certain time of the day to capture bright light from the sun, drawing the eye to the shadows.

RouenCathedral Monet 1894.jpg
Fig. 2 Claude Monet’s painting of Rouen Cathedral
Image result for paul strand photos
Fig. 3 Wall Street Photograph by Paul Strand
Fig. 4 Bundoora offices of Ambience Lighting

I found this design by Dana Barely-Katz of Studio Y, that also manipulates light. They designed the interiors at the new Bundoora offices of Ambience Lighting, in which they presented a concept that would use prisms as a repeating motif, capturing the phenomenon with a series of coloured and angular lines, which would visually connect walls, floors and ceilings.

The film would refract the natural sunlight, breaking it up into its spectral colours. They chose a palette of pastel colours, favouring lighter tones in the central space, where neutral tones are more conducive to calm and productive work environment. In break out spaces like the kitchen, meeting rooms, and bathrooms, bolder colours were chosen. (Acquroff, 2018)

Thinking about my next assignment and looking back at my original model of the string tassels I’m wondering whether I can work with it to create an interior visual using natural light, in doing this it would recreate a whole new look but how interesting would that be?


(Turrell,2019) (accessed 1.11.19)

(Garcia-Vasquez, 2015) (accessed 1.11.19)

(Acquroff, 2018) (accessed 1.11.19)


Fig.1 Skyspace Experience, Rice University, Houston USA

Fig.2 Claude Monet’s painting of Rouen Cathedral

Fig.3 Wall Street Photograph by Paul Strand

Fig.4 Bundoora offices of Ambience Lighting

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s