James Turrell

James Turell is an American artist who explores light and space. Here are some examples of his work.



I have decided to look at the work of artist James Turrell primarily because of his light installations and his interest in light. I like the way his artwork affects how we perceive and feel about light. I like the idea of creating an installation that gives the viewer an overwhelming experience. His light installations are almost dream-like. This is something I would like to use in my project of inside/outside which explores dreams.

Afrum (white)-1966

This piece particularly caught my attention as it somehow draws me into the light and makes me question the structure of light. I feel like the light could be a projection but also a three dimensional object , the more i look into the light the more my mind plays tricks on me. The light is displayed in such a way that it is difficult to determine the size and how it is placed into the corner of the wall, The cube of light almost seems as it is levitating.

In relation to the ‘Illuminated’ field hub this artist has inspired me experiment with light in terms of how it can be shaped into something 3 dimensional. Although light isn’t a physical object it can be shaped to create the illusion of 3 dimensional space. This idea of shaping light is what I intent to take into my small group when thinking of ideas for our collaborative pieces.



Salvador Dali

In relevance to my Inside/Outside project i have looked in to the artwork of the famous surrealist Salvador Dali. Salvador Dali is an obvious choice to look at dreams in artwork as most of his well known artwork is inspired by the dream world. I feel I could use this surrealist style in my work to explore dreams. Some of the surreal meanings could be used to wards dreams and how the human mind works when dreaming. Like Salvador Dali I want to depict the ‘dream world’ within my artwork, this could be a challenge because dreams are not viable to the eye and each one is unique to the person. I feel Dali integrates his own dream experiences into his paintings. I think this might help me to get started when producing artwork based on dreams as well as adding a personal aspect to my work.

The Persistence of Memory

This piece is interesting to look at because there is a lot to think about. Aspects like the warped clocks and strange forms. These strange forms create a kind of optical illusion and play tricks on the mind. For example the white figure looks like a blanket but has human features like eye lashes and shapes of a face. It is as if one object is several objects at once. These figures along with the melting clocks are placed in an empty landscape which looks like there is no life there.

The idea of a dreamlike landscape which makes the viewer question if it is reality or not is something that I want to consider using in my own artwork when exploring ‘dreams’.



In relation to the Outside/Inside project I have began to look at sources other than artwork. After thinking about dreams the movie ‘Inception’ came to mind so I decided to re-watch the film and pick out parts which I found informative towards the idea of studying dreams.

This film uses clever cinematography and narrative to give a good representation of dreams. The main character ‘Cobb’ has an ability to enter peoples dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. In a scene from the film is talks about how worlds are created in dreams, ‘Cobb’ explains how “our mind creates and perceives our worlds simultaneously”. This scene also talks about how the human mind creates worlds and situations so good that we don’t know it. This is how dreams feel realistic until we wake up and realise something was strange.

This film also plays on the theme of dreams vs reality. ‘Cobb’ uses a totem which is an object to test whether he is in a dream or reality. The object is a spinning top that stops spinning if he is in reality.

(Inception 2010)

Thinking about dreams within art

After conducting my library research project it gave me some really good ideas for my inside outside project. Following on from the idea of exploring inside the human mind I have been looking at surrealists such as Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali. The library research project helped me understand how dreams and the idea of dreams influence surrealist artwork.

To start looking into this more in depth i conducted a quick google search on dreams themselves to find out some interesting facts. I began to think about the dreams I have experienced and most importantly how I could show this in my artwork.

After researching Rene Magritte in the library I came across one of his pieces in the Cardiff Museum.

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This piece represented scenes, portals or windows into strange dream like worlds. I found the idea of this very interesting and want to use this within my own artworks.

Defining 1 dimension

this weeks text was from Creative intuition art and poetry, J. Maritain. This text was again extremely difficult to take in and develop and understanding of it. However after breaking it down into sections it became more clear.


From what I understood the text explores surrealism as well as poetry and how they relate to one another.

‘As Brenton put it, it leaves aside “any aesthetic” as well as any “moral concern.” The aim is to express “the real function of thought.”

In this quotation it talks about how surrealist express “the real function of thought” in their artwork. Therefore surrealism is about visualising “thought.” In relation to defining 1 dimension; Surreal paintings visualise “thought” through art which could be seen as the first dimension.

An example of this within the museum was difficult to find so i found an abstract painting which did not have the form of anything and tried to relate the brush strokes in the painting to this idea of the first dimension. I found this painting used brush strokes , shape and colour to give a representation of an object which could be related to the “real function of thought”.


Defining 4 dimension


This week in the museum the task was to read another text which was in the form of a play. After reading it over a few times I found the at the characters were talking about the subject of happiness and how being rich or poor can effect this. The character ‘MASHA’ describes how poverty is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. This gives a different perspective of happiness/unhappiness to the other characters.

My understanding of 4 dimension is that it uses all 3 dimensions as well as a fourth dimension which involves the senses.  I found that it was extremely difficult to find a piece of work that i could relate to this so i decided the example need to be more of a concept rather that a visual image. The piece of art I chose was Tyrrau Mawr, (Big Towers) 2016, which was part of the Artes Mundi Exhibition in the Cardiff Museum.

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This to me includes a fourth dimension by using sound as well as image in an artistic way. This engages the senses and allows me to experience the artwork in another dimension.

Library research project

  This week the task was to undertake a short project which focused on researching artists. this was done by looking through books, journals and DVD’s in the library. The research I found will help me inform the two pieces of art that I make by the end of this week.


Magritte– Suzi Gablik

img_0339I have chosen to look into the artwork of surrealist Rene Magritte because of his clever and thought provoking paintings. I feel that most of his work involves exploring thoughts or dreams which I intend to use for my outside/inside project. This book refers to the ideas behind Magritte’s artwork and an insight into his life.

“Pictorial experience which puts the real world on trial, gives me a belief in the infinity of possibilities as yet unknown to life.” – (Suzi Gablik, René Magritte, 1898-1967, published May 1st 1985 by Thames & Hudson)

I chose this quotation as I feel it links into my chosen project. The idea of infinite possibilities that we are currently unaware of really inspires me to think outside the box in relation to thoughts and dreams when creating art. I feel that this is an admirable quotation for me as a pictorial experience is concerned with the idea that when people look at a picture, they typically have a visual experience of its subject and how this experience occurs alongside an experience of the picture’s designed surface and looks at the thoughts in people’s minds.

Institute of Contemporary Arts – Sarah Sze


Sarah Sze is another artist which I found interesting to look at because of her large scale installations which represent small universes, these are created from found objects. They almost seem to wrap around and appear as if they go through buildings or walls. I found this aspect interesting as it could relate to my inside/outside project. The book that I found on her features lots of photographs of her installations which i found interesting to look at. One of the paragraphs was a concept called dirty realism. I have chosen a quotation from the text that I feel clearly describes the concept of dirty realism and how it links in with my chosen project of inside outside.

“As a concept, it’s located in those parts of Tokyo where the street is somehow inside, so that the city as a whole has no profile. The city of dirty realism is one immense unrepresentable container, a collective built space where the opposition between inside and outside has been annulled.” – (Sarah Sze – Institute of Contemporary Arts, published in 1998)

From this quotation my understanding of dirty realism is that there is no inside or outside in a collective built space. This concept could also link to Magritte’s concept of an image being inside an image, represented in the piece ‘ceci n’est pas une pipe’,which in English translates to ‘this is not a pipe.


Surrealissimo– BBC 2, 2nd March 2002


My intentions are to look into the human mind and dreams in relation to the outside inside project, therefore an obvious choice would be to look at the work of Salvador Dali. I found this DVD in the library and thought it would be interesting to look at to gain some information on the surrealist movement and Salvador Dali. Whilst watching the DVD I made notes. I found that it was quite informative on the life of Dali and how he developed the career. It included steps on how to be a surrealist, after each step he talked about how he achieved this. The steps that were mentioned were; to find a mentor, conquer Paris, join a group of like minds, create a stair, commodify yourself and finally destroy the competition.