PHILLIP K SMITH
Playing with light on a grand scale, this American’s breathtaking installations are winning fans around the world
During this year’s Milan Furniture Fair, we had our first opportunity to see an installation by this Palms Springs-based artist in person. Created in collaboration with fashion brand Cos, Open Sky, a crescent-shaped, mirror polished steel structure, was Phillip K Smith III’S first to be shown in Europe. The towering arc invited viewers to pause, reflect and look up at the sky – a theme PKS3 (as Smith refers to himself ) often returns to. ‘There are experiences of beauty that force all of us to stop and look, such as a sunset,’ he says. ‘People say we need to celebrate our differences, and I agree, but we must also celebrate the things that bond us together. That’s what I’m trying to do.’
This is a passion previously seen in the artist’s 2013 work Lucid Stead, a mirror-clad shack in the desert of Joshua Tree, California. By day, its reflective panels make it appear to float, but by night, illuminated by coloured LEDS, it glows like a mirage. Smith, a trained architect, is known for his interventions with the landscape: a loop of glass rods entitled The Circle of Land and Sky in Palm Desert, or the reflective pillars of ¼ Mile Arc at Laguna Beach. Exploring space and light, his work often uses geometric silhouettes. ‘I’m interested in minimalism with soul; something that has a sense of warmth and humanity to it,’ he says.
What’s next? An immersive show in Los Angeles and a new sculpture in Xiamen, China (pks3.com).
‘I’M INTERESTED IN MINIMALISM WITH SOUL; SOMETHING THAT HAS A SENSE OF WARMTH AND HUMANITY TO IT’