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Inspired by Light

Luminism is an art form in which light is the main medium of expression. Light art, however, didn't become a dedicated form of art until the late 20th century, due in large part due to pioneering work begun in 1969, as part of an experimental program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, by Robert Irwin and James Turrell.

This week we studied the influence of refracted light resulting in natural phenomena like the Aurora Borealis, and rainbows, which lead to the work of James Turrell. He studied perceptual psychology and has been fixated on light and all the ways he can manipulate it with space and color. "There is no one between you and your experience .”

Light art takes on many forms including painting and sculpture. In the case of James Turrell, he creates large open rooms where the viewer is immersed in the space and bathes in pure light. He is the most prolific light artist and has permanent installations in 29 countries. There are numerous light festivals around the world, featuring many varieties of art inspired by light, including the annual event at OMSI every winter.

Our lesson included playing with color cells to study primary and secondary colors and for our final project, we created color mixes in collages and mobiles.