Rising from the sands of California's Mojave desert, a woman's face and hand cut a striking figure. The work of South African sculptor Daniel Popper, the mosaicked installation sits at the Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. Designed to remind visitors of their spiritual place in the universe, the monumental sculpture is both surreal and serene.
The face, which is 32 feet tall, has all the characteristics that define Popper's work. The woman's downward gaze and closed eyes set an introspective mood that carries on throughout the work. The hands, which measure 27 feet tall, have circular cutouts in the palms. These circles are accented by mosaic pieces created from dichroic glass mirror tile. As such, the light and color of the mosaic, which can also be found across the woman's face, change along with the environment.
The piece, titled Transmission, is intended to symbolize the confluence of Earth and Sky. And, by extension, the confluence of the spiritual and the physical. Visitors are invited to soak in the energy and light that the hands transmit and revel in the symbols, such as the crescent moon, that adorn the sculpture.
“While such themes gesture to the heavens, Transmission is deeply rooted in the land, her unseen body—one imagines—extending far beneath the desert sands,” states the artist. “With her likeness paused in meditation, the sculpted figure offers reflections on our relationship with the earth and the universe, and reminds us of our place within the vast expanse of space.”
Since it was placed on the property in 2021, Transmission has caused quite a stir. The ranch, which is available for rent on Airbnb, is not open to the public. While getting a close view of Popper's masterpiece is for guests only, the owners have kindly constructed a turn out on a nearby road so curious visitors can view the sculpture and take pictures.