As a self taught artist, Terry Turrell’s work is distinguished by a remarkable range of subject matter and materials. He favors found materials and refers to his art making as play. The paintings and sculptures are worked in layers, often laying down paint with his hands. Images are often drawn or incised with a screwdriver which he favors as much as a brush. A recent series of sculptures include carved heads and figures that hinge open to reveal inner carved and painted scenes. Other assemblages have elements wired together with wrapped and twisted tin to define open work figural forms.
Terry Turrell has been drawing, carving, and painting since his youth. Growing up in rural Idaho, he was surrounded by scrap materials to play with in his fathers auto junkyard where he would make his own toys. When he went to school, however, he found making art was not encouraged and seen as a waste of time. It wasn’t until drifting off to San Fransisco in the 1960s that Terry found inspiration to create again. Turrell supported himself for several decades selling hand drawn T-shirts that he sold in a local market. By the late 1980s he felt inspired to begin to paint and make sculpture. His yard and garage became a studio and source for scrap materals where his dogs would watch him carving and painting. They in turn became favored subjects in his improvisational works of art. Terry Turrell's art was discovered by Mia Gallery in Seattle which later introduced his art at the Outsider Art Fair. Turrell's art is represented by American Primitive Gallery.