Friday, November 18, 2011

Designer of the Month: Andy Goldsworthy

Week 3

Throughout his career, Andy Goldsworthy has been a highly prolific artist. When not working on a large or long-term project, he attempts to make a work every, each of which is diligently photographed.[1] Additionally, he has written extensively about his artistic processes, with many of these words and images featured in a variety of themed books exploring different elements of Goldsworthy's work, from Wood to Passage, Enclosure, and Time.

Carefully broken pebbles
scratched white with another stone
1 June 1985, St. Abbs, Scotland. © Andy Goldsworthy. Courtesy of the Andy Goldsworthy Digital Catalogue.

And of course, as a living artist who has much to say about his work and process, and who keeps copious notes about his sculptures, it's easy to find out why a work has been created in a certain way. For example, of the above work, Goldsworthy wrote:
Diary: 1st June

In the evening went to small
beach to work as the sun
went down - time the
completion of work with
sundown - broken stones
-cracked in two -not easy.
Scratched white around cracks
- made a sort of spiral which
suited this work - this is how
forms such as spirals/circles/balls
appear - out of the making and not
taken out there to be imposed
When I do that work is stiff [2]
For Goldsworthy, lines and shapes will influence what a finished work looks like just as much as the matter that it's created with. While he spends a great deal of time focused on specific locations, creating sculptures out of objects found within the environment, Goldsworthy has also done studies that have focused on one particular form or material. A good example of this is his continual fascination with leaves.

Leaf horn, 15 November 1986. Penpont, Dumfriesshire. © Andy Goldsworthy. Courtesy of the Andy Goldsworthy Digital Catalogue.

Over the course of his career, Goldsworthy's leafworks have grown from their beginnings as ephemeral arrangements and constructions, captured only in photographs, to sculptures made both outside and inside his studio.[3] While the above Leaf horn makes use of the same spiral shape as the pebble work above it, there is very little else that relates the two works other than Goldsworthy's consistent use of natural materials and shapes in his work, and a desire to continually push the boundaries of his sculptural explorations. But a shape will often influence an entire body of work for a particular material, such as the use of the spiral within Goldsworthy's leafworks. As Paul Nesbitt explains,
Goldsworthy relishes working with the spiral form in leaves because of its leading role in a process as natural as growth itself. The basic method of construction enables an astonishing wealth of forms to emerge in his hands...A leaf is folded along its length so that the prominent central vein is uppermost, forming a backbone. This is then shaped into a tight spiral, loosened, and another leaf, similarly folded, is nestled into the fold of the previous one and pinned with thorns. As the process is repeated the spiral grows. A natural cone shape results and grows from the thin end downwards and outwards.[4]
Goldsworthy's leafworks are just one example, but this exploration of form, like all of his repeated use of forms and materials, has resulted in an wide range of incredibly striking and varied bodies of work.

[1] Andy Goldsworthy, "Time, Change, Place," Time (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 2000), 7.

[2] Andy Goldsworthy,"1985_071," from the Andy Goldsworthy Digital Catalogue online, (accessed November 17, 2011).

[3] Paul Nesbitt, "Leafworks," Hand to Earth: Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture, 1976-1990 (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1990), 99.

[4] Ibid, 104.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I find Andy Goldsworthy very inspiring. I just re-watched Rivers & Tides last night, and recently posted on Andy Goldsworthy too:


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