Critics’ Picks

End Around, 2006.

Los Angeles

James Turrell

Griffin
2902 Nebraska Avenue
May 20 - August 26

As summer appears and it takes appreciably longer for the sun’s blond rays to be snuffed out by dusk, the American debut of James Turrell’s new “Tall Glass” series just seems to make sense for the season. The three “Tall Glass” works—installations formed by etched glass and programmed LED lights inserted into shallow, rectangular spaces notched into the gallery walls—are presented with End Around (all works 2006), a new, ethereal installation from Turrell’s “Ganzfeld” series. Each underscores Turrell’s ability to apprehend light and its spectrum of effects. The “Tall Glass” works emit unique patterns of colored light that ease through yolky golds, bluish violets, emerald, turquoise, and hot pink in a scarcely perceptible cycle that takes around three and a half hours to complete. While Silent Leading and Gathered Light are quietly similar, Pacifist Aggressive concentrates its presence in a narrow, intimate chamber situated apart from the main space. The work exists in a cavity in the wall roughly the size of a human body; before its assertive glow, the viewer becomes aware of not only his or her own corporeal being but also the persistant absence of another body. In the context of an image culture that exerts exacting control over public representations of bodies (such as the nonappearance of US war casualties in the American news), Pacifist Aggressive, when considered alongside Turrell’s long public stance in favor of nonviolence, resonates emphatically on both visceral and abstractly political levels.