American artist Phillip K. Smith III (b. Calif., 1972) uses light as a medium to create optically shifting sculptures and site-specific installations. His minimal but imposing interventions into vast outdoor landscapes and more discretely scaled sculptures are nuanced perceptual encounters in response to the unique conditions of site and context. Expansile and living, Smith’s boundary dissolving sculptures use mirrors and LED technology to alter the interplay of light, color, and surface in an expanded field, proposing shifts in experiential pace to modify the viewer’s physical encounter. Trained as an artist and an architect at Rhode Island School of Design, Smith incorporates the site-specificity of architecture, with its reliance on scale, and its capacity to physically impact the human interaction it supports, to create immersive viewing experiences.
Recent projects include The Circle of Land and Sky (2017), part of the inaugural Desert X, the critically acclaimed Coachella Valley desert-wide, site-specific exhibition; Open Sky (2018), commissioned by Scandinavian fashion house COS for Italy’s Salone del Mobile, Milan; Detroit Skybridge (2018), a 100-foot-long LED installation commissioned as part of Detroit’s Library Street Collective city-wide revitalization effort; Three Half Lozenges, a permanent acquisition activating the three two-story high windows on the 1920’s façade of the Newark Museum of Art in Newark, NJ; and Parallel Perpendicular, a series of 5 freestanding reflective and color-based volumes for the new West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, CA. Upcoming public projects include a 50’ high all white, torqued light and shadow work in North Scottsdale, AZ (2023), and Four Corners Extruded, a 42’ high reflective and light-based work for Seattle Sound Transit (2023).
Smith currently has two solo exhibitions on view; Phillip K. Smith III: LIGHT + CHANGE at Palm Springs Art Museum and Three Parallels at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Toledo Art Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, and the Palm Springs Art Museum. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Toledo Museum of Art, Palm Springs Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, and Newark Museum of Art, and has been featured in hundreds of print and online publications, including Architectural Digest, artnet, ARTnews, Forbes, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Wallpaper*, Yatzer, and Whitehot Magazine, among others.