Artist Bruce Munro has brought his critically acclaimed Field of Light installation to Paso Robles, California. 

By Siobhan Reid
Updated: May 20, 2019

Artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light installation ranks high on our list of pilgrimage-worthy art escapes. The immersive art piece comprises 50,000 shimmering lights, spread over a vast desert landscape and set against the backdrop of Uluru, the most sacred site in the Australian Outback.

Getting to Uluru isn’t the easiest (or most affordable) journey. Which is why we couldn’t be more excited to learn that, starting today, visitors can experience the artist's singular vision in a much more accessible locale: Paso Robles, California.

© 2019 Bruce Munro. All rights reserved. Photography by Serena Munro

The solar-powered installation — Munro’s largest yet — will occupy a 15-acre slice of undulating hillside in the charming wine country town, about 4 hours by car north of Los Angeles. Several years in the making, the site-specific installation, titled Field of Light at Sensorio, is meant to complement, never compete or detract from, the beauty of the landscape.

Mark Pickthall

“We want visitors to be completely immersed in the environment, inclusive of the stars above,” Munro said to Travel + Leisure. “Everything we’ve created here at Sensorio dips below an elevation of 830 feet, so visitors will feel like they’re being cradled in the valley.”

© 2019 Bruce Munro. All rights reserved. Photography by Serena Munro

The installation's 58,800 stemmed spheres are lit by fiber-optics and LED’s and glow in varying rainbow-colored hues. When illuminated during the day, the effect is uncannily similar to that of the super blooms that blanketed regions of California this past spring. But the sight is most awe-inspiring at night, when the ground transforms into a galaxy of stars, mirroring those twinkling overhead.

“The amount of light emitted is surprisingly minimal — about the same as what a couple of houses would give off if they were spread over a 12-acre valley,” Munro explained, “so there’s a balance between the stars on the ground and those in the sky.”

Munro hopes that the installation encourages visitors to walk meditatively throughout the valley, pondering the way the lights play off different features of the landscape. But he also hopes the work engenders a sense of perspective and community.

“I work in light, but it’s not about the light, it’s about emotions,” he said. “I feel that we’re in a moment of history when we have to start questioning our values and getting back to basics. I hope that, in a small way, my installation helps guide you toward the clear sky, literally and otherwise.”

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