DeSoto is known for his public projects and sculptural installations that incorporate sound, video and theatrical lighting. DeSoto brings to his work a strong interest in archaeology, anthropology, sociology and world religions.
In a recent sculpture, Paranirvana (self-portrait), the artist portrays himself as the reclining Buddha at the moment of death and supreme consciousness. As Buddha lay in pain dying, he gave further compassionate lessons on the nature of consciousness and the structure of samsara (the wheel of life, death, suffering, and rebirth).
Although the scale of deSoto’s 25 foot-long inflated cloth work initially seems, like the issue of death, large and overpowering, the fragile materiality of the work denies this. Picturing his face on the Buddha, deSoto asks himself and the viewer the universal question: How will we face the moment of our death? Lewis deSoto lives in California, and is a professor of art at San Francisco State University.