• Bec Cuzzillo and Matt Lowe

    Bec Cuzzillo and Matt Lowe

  • now that's a martini......

    now that's a martini......

  • Dinny Killen and Virginia Vennonen

    Dinny Killen and Virginia Vennonen

  • Mark Sproat, Lauren Montagnese, Markus Gibson-Huck and Catherine Bandle

    Mark Sproat, Lauren Montagnese, Markus Gibson-Huck and Catherine Bandle

  • Ron Radford.

    Ron Radford.

  • Rod Mitten, Tina Baum and Franchesca Cubillo

    Rod Mitten, Tina Baum and Franchesca Cubillo

  • Katia Taylor and George Mitton

    Katia Taylor and George Mitton

  • Julia Greenstreet and Victoria Perin

    Julia Greenstreet and Victoria Perin

  • James Turrell, Michael Costello, Andrew Barr and Gerard Vaughan

    James Turrell, Michael Costello, Andrew Barr and Gerard Vaughan

  • James Turrell

    James Turrell

  • Robert Boynes and Sarit Cohen

    Robert Boynes and Sarit Cohen

  • Paul and Karen Flynn

    Paul and Karen Flynn

  • Rose Cahill and Adam Worrall at the Perpetual Cell......

    Rose Cahill and Adam Worrall at the Perpetual Cell......

  • A Turrell experience...

    A Turrell experience...

  • James Turrell in the afternoon light....

    James Turrell in the afternoon light....

  • In the pink of things with James Turrell, Michael Costello, Andrew Barr and Gerard Vaughan.....

    In the pink of things with James Turrell, Michael Costello, Andrew Barr and Gerard Vaughan.....

  • Geoff and Jan Pryor with granddaughter Tessa.

    Geoff and Jan Pryor with granddaughter Tessa.

  • Noel Florian and Elizabeth Malone

    Noel Florian and Elizabeth Malone

  • Alex Cuthbert of sponsor Flash Graphics

    Alex Cuthbert of sponsor Flash Graphics

  • themed food with an American flavour....

    themed food with an American flavour....

  • Now that's a martini....

    Now that's a martini....

  • the light effect.....

    the light effect.....

  • At the desk....

    At the desk....

  • Christine Y. Kim and Kevin Gruenberg

    Christine Y. Kim and Kevin Gruenberg

  • Cathy Carey and Ricky Bryan

    Cathy Carey and Ricky Bryan

  • Andrew Barr, Alexandra Vaughan and Gerard Vaughan

    Andrew Barr, Alexandra Vaughan and Gerard Vaughan

  • Travers Johnston and Alexandra Badham

    Travers Johnston and Alexandra Badham

James Turrell - A Retrospective

12 December 2014

I’ve always wondered about light and our perception of it. Knowing that in a deep well you can look at the sky during the day and see the stars, marveling at the exquisite north-western sky that is best viewed from a swag in the Kimberley while tracking the movement of the night sky, and the light that is Australia, brilliantly blinding in the summer, crisp and clear in the winter. It is the best welcome home from the human detritus in the sky of other places.
James Turrell knows light. It has been a 50 year artistic pursuit and the exhibition James Turrell A Retrospective will change your perceptions, enhance them too, and take you on a journey light years in the making. It is sensuous and seductive, stilling and stirring, magical and mystical, all without the need of mind altering substances!
Turrell is from a Quaker background, he is a man with a quiet mien and a Santa beard to impress all small children at this time of the year and he’s been visiting Canberra for 18 years enjoying the experience of our light and under the auspices of former director Ron Radford, a guest among the many at the opening, working to bring to fruition the extraordinary Turrell Skyspace in 2010.
James Turrell A Retrospective is an exhibition to immerse yourself in and be bathed in the colour and light without removing a stitch of clothing, though I would posit that to enter the Perpetual Cell would be a better experience naked – and no I didn’t.  
I did know though that 2015 is the United Nations International Year of Light and I thought perhaps the National Gallery of Australia was being pre-emptive in launching us into the light that is this James Turrell Retrospective, but not a mention at the opening. But if you thought you knew everything you needed to know about light take your eyes into the voids, let the light encompass you, suspend all preconceptions and bathe in the glows that Turrell creates in a variety of installations, among the drawings, prints, photographs and yet to be created spaces in this unique retrospective.
It will be a deeply personal experience.
The official opening was a picture of hot pink. Walls painted, pink carpet to walk, pink drinks to sip, pink pinnies on the staff and pink lights to give us a glow in the themed to the nth degree Gandel Hall where the new, and still glowing in his excitement, Chief Minister Andrew Barr stepped up to the podium and applause to open the retrospective and extol the Turrell ‘experience’ he’d just enjoyed. That was the Perceptual cell, a deep sea diving bell akin to a Jules Verne creation to give you 15 minutes of intense light to slide into. Turrell loves our southern sky and his NGA Skyspace reveals it. Now his light sculptures become an intangible all encompassing experience for us to go where only light has gone before.