Friday, November 4, 2011

Designer of the Month: Andy Goldsworthy

 Andy Goldsworthy, Storm King Wall, 1997-98. Fieldstone. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Lelong, New York. Photograph by Jerry L. Thompson. Courtesy of Galerie Lelong, New York.

I first became aware of British sculptor and photographer Andy Goldsworthy's (b. 1956) work through the Storm King Art Center, where Goldsworthy's wonderful site-specific work, Storm King Wall (1997-98), stands. Of course, to say that Storm King Wall - which elegantly snakes around trees and through the woods, before trailing off into a lake - is a site-specific work is obvious from even the worst images of it. No sculpture of such a massive size that fits so perfectly into a landscape could have been created for any other space. To say that all of Goldsworthy's works, then, are site-specific, only hints at the wonders that he is able to create within nearly any environment. Like Robert Smithson, Goldsworthy's work is often grouped in with the Earthworks movement. Rather than simply manipulating the land in a very noticeable and permanent manner, however, most of Goldsworthy's work - with some exceptions such as Storm King Wall - have a much more ephemeral quality to them; the creation his work often occurs solely from the materials that he finds within a given environment. As Miranda Strickand-Constable explains in Hand To Earth, "Goldsworthy is sometimes described as working 'in the landscape' but this only sometimes true. He is not concerned with a view of the land, as we see it, but with the land itself, its substance, the things that live in it and what happens to it."[1]
And as Goldsworthy himself describes of his method of artistic creation:
For me, looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. Place is found by walking, direction determined by weather and season. I take the opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches...Nature goes beyond what is called countryside - everything comes from the earth. My work made indoors or with urban and industrial materials is an attempt to discover nature in these things also. It is more difficult to find nature in materials so far removed from their source, and I cannot go for long before I need to work with the earth direct - hand to earth. What is important to me is that at the heart of whatever I do are a growing understanding and a sharpening perception of the land."[2]
In addition to the creation of the sculptures themselves, because of the often fleeting nature of his work, photography is a very important part of the creative and documentary process for Goldsworthy. He explains that, "My approach to the photograph is kept simple, almost routine. All work, good and bad, is documented. I use standard film, a standard lens and no filters."[3]

 Andy Goldsworthy. Courtesy of Columbia College Chicago.

This month, from stone and wood to leaves and ice, I want to take you through some of Goldsworthy's incredible sculptures and fascinating body artistic career. I hope you'll join me.

[1] Miranda Strickand-Constable, "Beginnings," Hand To Earth: Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture, 1976-1990 (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1990), 11.

[2] Andy Goldsworthy, "Introduction," Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1990).

[3] Ibid.

1 comment:

  1. that storm king wall is amazing. can't wait to see more of his work!


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