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Deborra-lee Furness, wife of Hugh Jackman, visits National Gallery of Australia

Deborra-Lee Furness was the first star name in what staff at the National Gallery of Australia hope will be a string of high profile guests to experience theĀ James Turrell: A retrospective exhibition in Canberra.

With her family, the adoption advocate and finalist for Australian of the Year 2015 - and wife of Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman - visited the gallery for a private viewing late on Saturday night.

National Gallery of Australia assistant director Michael Baldwin said he was thrilled to welcome Ms Furness and her family, including mum Fay Duncan and adopted daughter Ava Jackman, to the gallery.

"Clearly Deb doesn't get to Canberra too often so it was a great opportunity for her to see this exhibition while she was here," he said.

"She described the Perceptual Cell experience as being very 'zen', a very relaxing experience, which is what she needed. She chose the soft cycle, a little more meditative and calm as opposed to hard cycle."

During the visit, Ms Furness said the exhibition was worth the drive "from wherever you are".

"It's a totally awesome experience," she said.

The exhibition celebrates nearly 50 years of art by James Turrell and explores the perception and proposed physicality of light.