“Seductive and hypnotic, Phillip K. Smith III’s art harnesses the land and light so that we can see it anew.
The light in the California desert is a durational spectacle requiring time — a day, a week, a season — and patience to fully experience and appreciate. To best observe and absorb, you need to downshift to the desert’s pace, tune to its raw beauty, and lean into its tranquil and sometimes unsettling quiet. Only then can your mind and body feel the relief of leaving all signs of civilization in your dust and the awe of the vast landscape and brilliant sky that surround you.
“There are incredible natural light phenomena that happen here in the desert every single day,” says artist Phillip K. Smith III, whose all-consuming, otherworldly installations encourage people to slow down, look, and linger. “The desert can seem overwhelming and at times merciless, but the resolution is time.”
Smith, 48, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in Indio, began connecting with this land on high school hiking trips to the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park before he moved to the East Coast to earn degrees in art and architecture at Rhode Island School of Design and work for Boston architecture firms Machado + Silvetti, Office dA, and Dolezal Architecture + Interior Design. He returned a decade later, in 2000, and has since made the desert his home and inspiration…”