The Cusp of Things

Art — Produced by Michael O’Reilly

James Turrell is an artist who works with light, both natural and artificial. His work is often hard to reproduce in photos and video in that he plays with the human perception of light, form and color. Couple that with the fact that many have reported something of a spiritual reaction to his work, and you might begin to understand why the Chestnut Hill Friends (Quakers for the uninitiated) welcomed the addition of one of his “SkySpaces” to the new meeting house they were building on Mermaid Lane.

A Quaker himself (he says his family were strict “Wiburites in that art and music were considered a vanity”), Turell is coming off major retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and LACMA in Los Angeles. FRIDAY ARTS sat down with Turrell, as well as members of the Chestnut Hill Friends congregation, to understand the how and the why of the inclusion of the SkySpace, and in the process, captured a man, place and group on the cusp of a new era.

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