phillip k. smith iii


The Art of Phillip K. Smith III 

Phillip K. Smith III received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design.  From his Palm Desert, CA-based studio, he continues to push the boundaries and confront the ideas of modernist design.  Drawing inspiration from the cold rigidity of the Bauhaus movement, the reductive geometries of minimalism, and the optic sensation of California’s Light and Space movement, Smith III attempts to resolve the complex challenge of finding a natural state of life and spirit within these ideological aesthetic constrictions.  The results are deceptively simple and compelling objects that seem to breathe and move as you observe and interact with them.

Projects identified from the top:

  • Lucid Stead (images 01-03)
  • Quarter Mile Arc (images 04-07)
  • Reflection Field (images 08-10)

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Desert X: Phillip K. Smith III

He calls his exhibit “The Circle of Land and Sky.” You can spend an hour in this spot not appreciate everything possible to see and experience. The circle of 300 columned mirrors is 160 feet in diameter. When I first saw the installation from a distance, I thought of Stonehenge.

Phil Smith is the artist whose installations appear at the Coachella Music Festival.

Description from the artist:

The Circle of Land and Sky defines a reflective space within the desert, composed entirely of the environment’s two most prominent physical characteristics – land and sky. Formed by 300 geometric reflectors angled at 10 degrees, the artwork directly engages with the Sonoran surrounding and the endless heavens.  As the light shifts and the viewer moves through the installation, land and sky are separated, merged, and displaced, subverting one’s assumed relationship with the desert horizon. At times, the sky is pulled down to the land or the land lifted up to the sky, while the colors of the west may merge with the colors of the east. It is a constantly changing installation that can never be seen the same way twice.