Image Resources | Currently on View in The Nagler Family Gallery
Acton belongs to the Space Division Constructions series, which James Turrell began in 1976. In these works, Turrell defines two distinct areas of a room: the "viewing space," where the audience stands to view the work, and the "sensing space," which is filled with diffused light. A thin partition with a large opening in its center separates the two spaces. Turrell creates an optical illusion in which the viewer initially perceives the opening as a flat, monochromatic surface. Prolonged viewing yields a surprising shift in perception, as the viewer may see and even reach into the sensing space.
Turrell was born in Los Angeles and studied mathematics and psychology at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He was part of a movement of California artists who experimented with light and visual perception in the late 1960s. A viewer's perception of Acton goes through many transformations. Turrell's work does not strive for verisimilitude but rather encourages an otherworldly, psychological experience.