James Turrell, “The Color Inside”

James Turrell, “The Color Inside”

  • <p>James Turrell, The Color Inside, 2013. Black basalt, plaster, and LED lights, 224 × 348 × 276 inches. Commission, Landmarks, The University of Texas at Austin, 2013. Photo by Paul Bardagjy.</p>
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James Turrell, The Color Inside, 2013.

American, born 1943

James Turrell’s artistic medium is light—not paintings that depict light, nor sculptures that incorporate light, but simply light itself. His art offers viewers the opportunity to have unique and intimate experiences with light and to appreciate its transcendent power. Whether through projections, printmaking, or site-specific installations, Turrell’s work is influenced by Quaker simplicity and the practice of going inside to greet the light of revelation.

In the 1960s, Turrell began to experiment with light projections and a variety of installations in which light from the outside penetrated inside, enabling viewers to perceive color within darkened interiors. In some, he cut away parts of the walls to reveal the sky. These cuts evolved into Skyspaces, rooms with sharp-edged apertures in the ceiling that seem to bring the sky down through the opening, almost within reach.

The Color Inside is Turrell’s eighty-fourth Skyspace. Like many others, it is a destination, located on the rooftop of the William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center. Though Turrell’s architectural spaces are reduced to the most essential elements, they retain a simple elegance that makes them particularly enticing. The Color Inside is distinctive for its intimate proportions, elegant palette, lyrical lines, and brilliant washes of color that can be experienced during specialized light sequences at sunrise and sunset, causing the sky to appear in unimaginable hues. Also available for observation during the day, the Skyspace offers a quiet, contemplative space for the campus community and visitors.

In naming The Color Inside, Turrell said, “I was thinking about what you see inside, and inside the sky, and what the sky holds within it that we don’t see the possibility of in our regular life.” The space he created encourages the kind of quiet reflection that cultivates attention. Turrell reminds us that not only does light reveal what is around us but it also makes known that which is within us.

To make a reservation to visit The Color Inside, visit the James Turrell website.

  • <p>James Turrell, The Color Inside, 2013.  Photo by Florian Holzherr.</p>
  • <p>James Turrell, The Color Inside, 2013.  Photo by Paul Bardagjy.</p>

Location: William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center Rooftop

GPS: 30.284792, -97.736327

Skyspace Meditation

Press play to watch a virtual meditation composed by Matthew Lyons.