I am so excited to be writing about Andy Goldsworthy for my second artist who makes installation art. (read about Patrick Dougherty here.)
Like Dougherty, Andy Goldsworthy uses the great outdoors as his medium and gallery. He creates compelling, meditative pieces using everything from snow to rocks and natural pigments from the area in which he’s working. His work pushes the boundaries of what he finds out about the materials: He carves snow until it is juuuust about to melt through, and then photographs it at that precise moment. Or he stacks rocks into a forever winding wall where each rock balances out the next and they all work together to hold up the massive structure. That’s cool.
Bright sunny morning, frozen snow, cut slab, scraped snow away with a stick, just short of breaking through. Izumi-Mura, Japan. 19 December 1987
Andy Goldsworthy’s sheepfolds near Crook in the Lake District in the winter of 2006.
Fen and I watched a documentary about Andy Goldsworthy the other week and she was as delighted as I was- we took turns yelling out the words, “cool!” and, “ohmygodlookitthat!” I knew about his work previously, but how enlightening to be able to ‘be there’ as he worked on some of his pieces and spoke about his creative process and what drives him. What a great experience for a kid to see this!
After being blown away by what this man can do with nature, how can you not, as a kid, try to emulate him? She sheepishly told me the next day that she had made a path of rocks in our back yard, so I tucked that information away for later. We recently found ourselves at a nearby stream, where rocks abounded, and Fen and I couldn’t start lining them up fast enough.
I like that this sort of working outdoors, with whatever you find around you, lends itself to talking about the ideas inherent to installation art: how long will what you make last, based on nature or people changing it? How does what you made look in the environment? What did you think about while you were making it?
Learn more about Andy Goldsworthy here.