Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) will exhibit a new, immersive, light-based installation by California artist Phillip K. Smith III from Oct. 29 through Aug. 6, 2023.
“Phillip K. Smith III: Three Parallels” comprises three monolithic, mirrored volumes that merge light and reflection to create an infinite space for color, a press release stated. Aligned in a parallel configuration, the massive rectangular mirrored surfaces project and reflect light, washing the gallery and viewers in color.
As the colors slowly shift through Smith’s precisely paced color choreography, viewers will find themselves reflected within color on top of color on top of color, either contrasting against the massive fields of color or dissolving into the light.
“SMoCA is thrilled to highlight the incredible work of artist Phillip K. Smith III in this expansive and immersive exhibition that connects to the museum’s own histories,” Jennifer McCabe, SMoCA director and chief curator, said in the release. “One of our inaugural shows, nearly 23 years ago, featured the works of James Turrell and accompanied the opening of his ‘Knight Rise’ Skyspace — named after SMoCA’s founding director, Robert Knight. Building upon this history of Turrell and other artists of the Light and Space movement, Smith focuses on perceptual phenomena, such as light, volume and scale.”
Based in the southern California desert, Smith creates light-based work focused on form, color, space, the environment and change. Often associated with the Light and Space movement that began in southern California in the 1960s, Smith’s work transforms, expands and compresses space through his use of shifting color, varying translucency, reflection and an ongoing experimentation of materials and technology.
His work ranges from richly hued forms to immersive spaces to large-scaled outdoor works that incorporate the beauty and changing atmosphere of the surrounding environment.
According to the press release, the exhibition “Three Parallels” is the seventh in SMoCA’s Architecture + Art series, which has commissioned architects and artists over the past 10 years to create site-specific installations that respond to the spatial, environmental and social context of the museum. The series pushes forward the increasingly important area of creative activity that lies between architecture and art.
Trained as an architect and artist at the Rhode Island School of Design, Smith is well-versed in both worlds.
“While I am a practicing artist, I believe that I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing without my architectural training,” Smith said in the release. “Architecture carved into me a deep respect for site, context, materials, fabrication methodologies and detailing. This architectural foundation — combined with the daily sublime beauty of the desert — has set me on my artistic path, focused on light, space and change.”
Smith is known for his large-scale, temporary and permanent installations, such as “Lucid Stead” in Joshua Tree, “Reflection Field” and “Portals” at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, “The Circle of Land and Sky” at the inaugural 2017 Desert X exhibition, “Open Sky” in Milan, Italy, for the 2018 Salone del Mobile, and “Parallel Perpendicular” in West Hollywood, California. His works are collected globally across private and institutional collections.
“Phillip K. Smith III: Three Parallels” is organized by SMoCA and curated by McCabe.
SMoCA is located at 7374 E. Second Street in Scottsdale. It is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., and Thursdays, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Visit SMoCA.org for information.
Admission is $10–12 for non-members; $7–9 for students, seniors (65+) and veterans; free for Scottsdale Arts ONE Members, healthcare workers, first responders, and patrons 18 and younger. Admission to the museum is free every Thursday and every second Saturday of the month. Timed-entry tickets are required.
SMoCA thanked the following sponsors in the release: City of Scottsdale, Billie Jo Herberger, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.