Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nature Art: Andy Goldsworthy

When I was trained to be a professional artist in New Orleans and New York all the mediums used to express ourselves seemed to be focused on toxic paints, glues, chemical printing inks, dark room printing with formaldehyde, and various mixed media using other stains or things as volatile as tool dip. A person who would have made art using natural objects would certainly have been looked at as either a hippy or absolutely lazy... in the art world nature made pieces lacked a certain toughness and finish to really gain any kind of prestige. When I realized my own health was being effected by the amounts of chemical materials I had been using, I faced the notion of completely re-structuring my entire outlook on what is "art". The definition that never can fully be defined. Making art with natural materials became an option I would begin to explore, but only after viewing the unreal & imaginative artwork of Andy Goldsworthy in his documentary Rivers and Tides.

"Andy Goldsworthy (born 26 July 1956) is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist living in Scotland who produces site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings. His art involves the use of natural and found objects, to create both temporary and permanent sculptures which draw out the character of their environment.
The materials used in
Andy Goldsworthy's art often include brightly-coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. He has been quoted as saying, "I think it's incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can't edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole." "

After being given the movie River and Tides to watch, something in my mind finally shifted - I had not lost my ability to make amazing artwork because I couldn't use paints, but a whole new world of materials had opened up to me. A world which was as endless as the things that grow and die here on earth. I began collecting sticks, dried weeds, bark and various rocks to create art pieces that were temporary yet liberating and peaceful. Artwork that caused no harm to the environment. Eventually my front yard began to look like a crazy gnome lived there building it's own empire.
I encourage all creative types to view the work of Andy Goldsworthy and banish the notion that brilliant art must come on a canvas full of paint. Nature holds more colors, variations, and beauty then any tube of paint will ever be able to compete with. :)


Liberty said...

I have always loved his art. I find it reaches me on a deep level that can't be expressed in words (geez that sounded cheesy LOL).

Artistnick said...

Natural art is a great idea. I've been thinking about this myself. Thanks for the extra inspiration.

The Oko Box said...

Hey Liberty!
It is totally hard for me too, to write about art or something meaningful without coming off as cheeseballing ;) ...
but what you wrote is pretty and i know exactly what you mean.

Cool Nick - Can't wait to see what you are going to make!

linda said...

Rivers and Tides is probably my most favorite film. I paid to see it several times, and finally bought myself a copy. Thanks for reminding me that it's about time to watch it again.

Susie Collins said...

The patterns are so beautiful. And the component of impermanence an amazing philosophy of his work, very Buddhist.

The Oko Box said...

So glad ya'll love him too, how could anyone not love the things he does... it takes you to another more quiet and appreciative place inside yourself and leaves you there for a while.