In 1966, Turrell began experimenting with light in his Santa Monica studio, the Mendota Hotel. By covering the windows and only allowing prescribed amounts of light from the street outside to shine through the openings, Turrell created his first light projections. Shortly thereafter, he began using halogen projectors to beam light across darkened rooms into corner spaces. From a distance the projected shapes appeared solid, but as viewers moved closer the forms revealed themselves to be
nothing more than light cast against ordinary flat walls. Two projections, Carn White (1967) and Phantom Blue (1968), will be included in this exhibition.
In the main gallery, Present Tense, a Space Division Construction from 1991, will be on view. In this work, a room is divided into two spaces by a partition wall. The space the viewer enters is lit by tungsten bulbs shining directly onto the sidewalls, while fluorescent tubes fill the partitioned space with colored light visible through a rectangular aperture. In a sense this work reverses the illusion of the projection works. Instead of a two-dimensional space alluding to three, the partitioned three-dimensional space appears to be a flat shape from a distance, but is perceived to diffuse into a three dimensional “mist” when approached by the viewer.
Also included in the exhibition will be Yukaloo, a new Wide Glass work. In these pieces, Turrell adds a temporal element to his perception-altering oeuvre. Each piece consists of a grid of LEDs behind a pane of etched glass. The LEDs are individually programmed to carry out a subtle shift in color over time, similar to the deliberate but beautiful fashion in which the sky changes from late afternoon to night.
James Turrell was born in 1943 in Los Angeles. Since his first solo exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1967 and the Stedelijk in 1976, Turrell has been the subject of over 140 solo exhibitions worldwide. He has received numerous awards in the arts, including The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1984. He currently resides in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Kayne Griffin Corcoran is a participating gallery of Pacific Standard Time. Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. Initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months beginning October 2011. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.