Last year, as a side project here at work, I created a small range of exclusive designed product for the National Gallery of Australia, to be sold in the gift shop associated with their exhibition of American artist James Turrell. Last week I was lucky to be able to make a short trip to Canberra, to visit the show and also have a squizz at my products in the gift shop!
I found the show itself to be wonderful and immersive, with its mind-bending themes of light, space, reflection and shifting perception. I basically just wandered around allowing my senses to be taken over. Some of the spaces Turrell creates are devoid of image, object or focus, and instead are filled with light and shifting colours. There is a palpable presence to be felt, and Turrell asks us to notice this, and simply be in that space. He talks about how this draws the participant into a state of 'joyous wordlessness'. It was right up my alley.
Creating designed product based on this kind of work isn't easy, as most of it is about light! But the selection of products in the gift shop were cleverly chosen and created a riot of colour, reflective surfaces, neon edges and holographic dazzle. It was exciting to see my designs nestled amongst it all. In the images above you can see our Reflection silver cups, printed T-shirts, Day Glo neon umbrellas, Roden Crater plates, Dusk Cycle tea towels, and No Object tea towel (framed on wall).
If anyone is near Canberra I highly recommend a visit – but check first with booking as I heard that one special part of it is booked out until the end of the show!
For more on the artist James Turrell, do visit his website. It's beautiful and fascinating, profound work. And to see our previous visit to the gallery, when we were working with the exuberant designs of Toulouse-Lautrec, see this post from 2013.