Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Andrew Goldsworthy (1956 - present)

(Below) Goldsworthy at work

(below) Reconstructed Icicles around a tree, 28 December 1995

(below) The Neuberger Cairn, 1st April 2001

My chosen artist is the English natural landscape artist Andrew Goldsworthy who collaborates with nature and its elements to create his site-specific art. He is successful in making “something from nothing”, through accidental discovery and contribution from the elements. He takes strolls in the woods, along riverbanks, down beaches, and without any tools at all, creates his beautiful art from the objects and materials he finds by chance; using his intuition. His art evolves from its surroundings; involving him in a learning process through working with nature where he relies on what materials nature will give him to produce his works

Goldsworthy’s goal is to develop a growing understanding and sharpened perception of nature by directly participating in it as intimately as he can and this is why I have chosen him. To him; seeing and understanding nature is a way of renewing the relationship of human existence within the environment, and that we as humans have some ability of controlling nature, but eventually, in the end, nature controls us. Andy Goldsworthy’s work involves the use of common natural and found objects, such as reeds, thorns, twigs, berries, pebbles, ice and snow. He almost never incorporates the assistance of any unnatural materials; often only using his bare hands, teeth, and found tools to prepare and construct his pieces. Through this creative process, Goldsworthy attempts to understand the richness and uniqueness of the site in which he is working. “Learning and understanding through touch and making is a simple but deeply important reason for doing my work.”

As most of Goldsworthy’s work is ephemeral, and disintegrates in less than a day, perhaps even within seconds, he contradicts the permanence of art in its historical pretence. “My sculpture can last for days or for a few seconds, what is important to me is the experience of making.” Goldsworthy’s work Derwent Water, Cumbria, (see below) a piece constructed out of twigs delicately arranged, demonstrates the transitory nature of Goldsworthy’s works and challenges traditionalistic notions of art.“I can't edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole." Goldsworthy creates works of art which do not only draw attention to themselves, but to the environments in which they are placed. He processes “raw materials” in the literal sense of the word; materials as they are found in nature.

(below) Derwent Water Cumbria. Feb 20 1988

Due to its ephemeral nature - (the temporality fascinates me), Goldsworthy uses photography as a form of documenting his work. Some of his works, such as his massive fir cone-shaped stone ‘Three Cairns’ last for decades or longer, while others, like an armful of snow thrown into the air, are destroyed within seconds and only continue to exist as photographs, which Goldsworthy ensures to capture immediately after completion of each of his pieces. “Photograph has become the way I talk about my sculpture…”

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