After the Summer Solstice last week, I went down to Canberra with Leo, and we paid a brief visit to the National Gallery, a favourite drawcard. With limited time avialable, (we had gone primarily to visit friends), we 'did' the rooms of Australian art, which we always love. On the ground floor, I paid homage to David Hockney's 'A grander canyon', which was very influential for me in forming ideas about reverse perceptions, drawing one into the landscape instead of gazing at it from the safe distance of a window frame - and indeed the nature of perception formation.
The feature exhibition was a retrospective of the work of James Turrell, whose installation we had seen at the Guggenheim NYC last year. That exhibition was very beautiful, and people waited their turn to lie on the mats provided on the floor under the skylight to gaze up at the changing hues of each tone as they gradually glided down to the ground when above an orange emerged emerged from the palest pink, all no doubt created by laser lights. There was no time to take in this 'retrospective', but I was reminded of the permanent installation outside (called Skyspace I now know), which we had visited when we had travelled to Canberra to see the Fred Williams retro 3 years ago. So before heading home, we wandered over, down into the ramp towards the entrance. I'd forgotten how 'entrancing' this work is, where the natural light interplays with (natural) dark; where shadows formed gradually dissolve, and a burst of light can make shapes like phases of the moon. The colours come to life at sunset (or an early but warm, or late but cold dawn, depending on season) - but that will have to wait for the next trip to Canberra.
Thinking about my next quilt commission from Jan, this was the perfect spot to start the creative juices flowing. I took some photos, thinking about structure for the concept she has talked about. Other views are available here: http://nga.gov.au/turrell/. Turrell says in the clip that we may have beliefs of set perceptions, when it is really we who create ways of seeing. Very much my position; very much what art does. I'm getting quite a little excited about creating this quilt now!