Artists Depict Desert's "Dry Heat" at Palm Springs Fine Art Fair

Show features post war and contemporary art



Coachella Valley artist Cristopher Cichocki will join Phillip K. Smith III, Kim Stringfellow and Scott Davis in a "Dry Heat" art discussion Feb. 15 during the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair.

 

Sculptor Phillip K. Smith III never expected to use the deserted 1940s homesteader’s shack in Joshua Tree as a reflective and light installation.

“In that kind of shack, if it was raining outside, it would be raining inside,” Smith III says.

Yet, within weeks, Lucid Stead (pictured at right) went viral, gaining international media attention and attracting 400 attendees to his five-acre plot in the middle of nowhere. Responses ranged from stunned silence to tears.

Smith III is one of four selected artists in a curated exhibit called, “Dry Heat,” at the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair, Feb. 13-16, featuring post war and contemporary art at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

“Dry Heat” is a common term when talking about the desert climate.

“Sure, it’s hot, but it’s a dry heat!” most residents will say.

Other “Dry Heat” artists include multi-media specialist, Cristopher Cichocki, and photographers Kim Stringfellow and Scott Davis.

All four artists will take part in a "Dry Heat” panel discussion from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the convention center. Immediately following the presentation will be a reception where attendees can casually meet the artists.

“We wanted to show off our best and brightest,” says curator Steven Biller, chairman of the Contemporary Arts Council at the Palm Springs Art Museum. “These are rough-and-tumble artists who have developed great dialogs with the desert.”

Biller says Smith III does an excellent job of harnessing desert light, while Cichocki is an activist with his day-glo installations of the Salton Sea.

Cichocki considers his multi-media installations, including photographs, paintings, sculptures and natural water sounds, a “catalyst” for discussion.

“I want to create awareness so the decay of the Salton Sea is not out-of-sight and out-of-mind,” warns Cichocki. “Its toxic debris will affect all of us in Southern California.”

Photographer Kim Stringfellow has written books on the Salton Sea and jackrabbit homesteaders shacks.

“They used to tie citrus trees to Joshua Trees to lure people to homestead the desert,” explains Biller. “It was kind of a joke, but these jackrabbit homesteads are part of our history and culture.”

Stringfellow, who teaches at the San Diego State School of Art, Design & Art History, is best known for her photograph of a deserted trailer parked on Bombay Beach at the Salton Sea. (pictured at left)

“In one photograph, she illustrates the decay of the Salton Sea, its shoreline, structures and the community,” Biller adds.

“Don’t forget that it wasn’t long ago that the Salton Sea was a popular tourist destination and hangout for the Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra,” adds Cichocki.

The last of the “Dry Heat” artists, Scott Davis, brings a noir (black) vision to the otherwise sun-soaked desert.

“His night photographs of the desert are black and desolate,” Biller explains. “He creates an emotional response to the emptiness of the space.”

“We hope that ‘Dry Heat’ is an educational experience,” adds Biller. “Each of these artists has a narrative to tell, and they do it visually.”

For the Fine Arts Fair, Smith III will be displaying “Torus 6,” a precursor light piece to Lucid Stead. The technically complex acrylic light sculpture (named after a geometric term) captivates viewers as the colors slowly change.

With the “Torus” series, Smith III was able to refine his LED lighting and make Lucid Stead clean and streamline, without showing obvious clips or wires.

Smith III, with an educational background in architecture, currently has 23 simultaneous projects and employs a staff of five. He often creates large-scale sculptures for museums, towns and universities.

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

 

VIDEO: Take a tour of Phillip K. Smith III's studio, and see some of his newest pieces.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Colt's Lodge Brings New Life to Palm Springs Accommodation Options

Colt's Lodge, a newly redesigned and renovated 11-room hotel located in Palm Springs' historic Deepwell Estates area, takes advantage of new owners Jon Nelson and Frank Young's design and theater backgrounds to create a fresh, new look.

Madison Rising Sings Red, White & Blue at Agua Caliente Casino Show

Formed in 2011, Madison Rising plays original and cover tunes to generate positive vibes and inspire gratitude for the good ole U.S.A.

Diane Best Helps Desert Town Show Itself at Inaugural Joshua Treenial Event

Joshua Tree's Diane Best will be among 50 artists from 15 countries who will showcase their work in the inaugural Joshua Treenial held at various venues over Memorial Day Weekend.

Witness the Power of Space During Monthly Stargazer Party

If you have not explored the wondrous splendor of space up close, the Astronomical Society of the Desert hosts a monthly “Star Party” for curious stargazers and space aficionados alike.

Trina Turk Turns 20

Louis Vuitton’s creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière, used the allure of the desert to unveil his Resort 2015 Collection, but Palm Springs' own Trina Turk has been designing and sharing the California lifestyle with the rest of the world for more than 20 years.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags