An awe-inspiring oculus: James Turrell’s Skyspace Installation

October 15th, 2013 Stephanie Phillips

We are thrilled about “The Color Inside”, a new Skyspace installation by renowned artist James Turrell. Commissioned by Landmarks, the university’s public art program, Turrell’s piece is located on the roof of the Student Activity Center (SAC) and was designed specifically for the University of Texas at Austin.

“The Color Inside” is one of twelve Skyspace pieces open to the public in the United States and the eighty-fourth created by Turrell. The Skyspace itself is a naked-eye observatory where visitors look up through an oculus, an opening in the ceiling, towards the sky. The installation is best witnessed at sunrise and sunset, when the observatory is flooded with a vivid sequence of LED lights that contrast dramatically with the natural sky above. Throughout the experience, the viewer’s perception of depth, color, and light is challenged. In the words of our friends at the Harry Ransom Center, visitors often leave “more attuned to the surrounding environment — as if the mind, used to believing that the sky is blue without ever taking notice of its true color, has been recalibrated”.

James Turrell’s work is of special interest here at the Architecture & Planning Library due to the architectural nature of his Skyspace installations. By pairing a built space with the striking effects of light, Turrell is able to manipulate viewers’ preconceived perceptions of the world in which they live. The result is sublime: an almost sensationalist effect on emotion and sensory experience.

“The Color Inside” officially opens to the public this Saturday, October 19. In honor of the opening, the Harry Ransom Center has pulled a selection of artwork and books associated with James Turrell for display on their third-floor Director’s Gallery. This collection is a fantastic complement to the installation itself, and offers insight into Turrell’s artistic progress throughout his famed career.

In addition, a conversation with James Turrell will be held with Lynn Herbert, former senior curator of Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum, on Friday, October 18. No reservation is necessary and it’s free to the public, but limited seating is available. Swing by the Student Activity Center Ballroom (SAC 2.410) at noon to hear this great segway to the opening event.

Please visit the installation’s official website for more information. We encourage you to make a free reservation as soon as possible to witness this stunning commission first-hand!

Entry Filed under: event,exhibition


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