sterling ruby embeds neon orange monolith into coachella valley’s desert landscape
desert X, an outdoor exhibition of art installations and site-specific works set amid a rugged mountainous landscape, returns this year for its second edition. as part of the project, los angeles–based artist sterling ruby has realized ‘specter’ – a neon orange monolith which appears as an apparition in the desert. in realising the composition of the artwork, ruby wanted to create an optical illusion, as though something had been erased from the scene.
located off snowcreek canyon road in whitewater, ruby’s ‘specter’ acts as a cipher or stand-in, mimicking the form it could be — a shipping container, a military bunker, an unidentified object, an abandoned home-stead. the bright, geometric sculpture resembles a photoshopped composite or collage, its fluorescent glow reflecting on the connotations of a color traditionally used for safety or as a warning. here that logic is reversed: silhouettes of the mountains and the sky reflect in its shiny surface, a ghostly object, set apart from the natural environment, hiding in plain sight.