You Have More Power Than You Can Imagine.
I remember being a big fan of the TV show The Incredible Hulk when I was a kid, and the The Hulk, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and the X-Men series as movies when they came out. I always thought they portrayed mental illness in a quirky way, but I never realized the significance they had for me until recently. It was in watching the latest episode in the X-men series, X-Men: The Last Stand, that it all came together for me: We are the X-Men.
Stan Lee and the creators of all of those characters have shown uncanny insight into the nature of our condition and our struggles. All of their characters have special powers. They also have weird quirks and idiosyncrasies. Most of all, they struggle with their powers and their inability to handle them.
James Turrell is one of the most remarkable artists alive. He has an amazing understanding of light and perception. By using darkness and almost imperceptible light, his artwork totally changes the way we see the world. I think his work with light and darkness is a perfect metaphor for trying to see depression in a new light.
When you enter one of Jim’s installations, it is so dark that you cannot see anything, or at least not much. The amount of available light is simply too little for our eyes to use. His artwork is not a picture on the wall; it is the entire environment, in which both the perception of the audience and time act as critical components.
If you stay long enough, your eyes begin to adjust to the lack of light. You start to see things that were there all along, but your eyes were not yet ready to perceive.
When you go back out into the “real” world, you bring an entirely new perspective; you begin to see everything in a whole new light (pun intended). Jim’s work can truly be described as a discovery of the act of seeing.
My own art is similar to Jim’s in many ways. Like Jim, instead of using a brush to paint a picture, I choose to build an environment that blocks out light and helps me to perceive. Unlike Jim, my art is not in the physical world; it is in my interior world.