The Art of Andy Goldsworthy: Part 1, A Collaboration with Nature

I've recently discovered the art of Andy Goldsworthy. I find his work not only beautiful but spiritually profound. In the next post or two I'd like to use Goldsworthy's art as a kind of metaphor for grace and Christian mission.

But first I need to introduce some of you to Goldsworthy's art.

A large part of Goldsworthy's art, and what he is most notable for, is simply wandering out into the natural world and using natural materials--stones, thorns, leaves, flowers, branches, ice--to create a piece of art. Sometimes the artwork is a structure or sculpture. Often the art is a pattern, a bit of order imposed upon the randomness of nature. For example:

An arrangement of autumn leaves:

Whimsical threads of color:

Ice sculptures:

Again, what is amazing about Goldsworthy's work is that he uses no tools and brings no materials with him. To make an ice sculpture he just collects icicles or cracks up the ice on a pond and, using the heat from his hands, melts the ice where he wants the ice to connect. Soon the cold air refreezes the ice and the joint is formed. If Goldsworthy creates a string of flower pedals he will use thorn and vine as his needle and thread. If he wants color he will smash up and grind rocks to get pigment. All the materials he uses are lying around him and, as a consequence, each piece of artwork is tied to its physical location (space) and season of the year (time). Some of the simplest art Goldsworthy does, practically childlike in quality, is lying on the ground as a light rain or snow begins. After a few moments he'll get up, leaving his outline behind:

Again, this is artwork and pattern that, to use Goldsworthy's word, "collaborates" with nature.

Obviously, this art is fragile and temporary. To preserve it Goldsworthy has to take pictures. And that is one of the most poignant aspects of his artform. Goldsworthy steps into the natural world, creates something, steps out, and then allows natural forces--time, wind, rain, sun, tide--slowly erase his creation. This aspect of Goldsworthy's art is vividly captured in this scene from the documentary Rivers and Tides:

Enjoy looking around the Internet at Goldsworthy's art. There are additional clips of Rivers and Tides on Youtube (and I watched it for free directly off Netflix). In the next post or two I want to use Goldsworthy's art as a kind of metaphor for the Christian life.

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3 thoughts on “The Art of Andy Goldsworthy: Part 1, A Collaboration with Nature”

  1. This guy is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cant belive how clever he is. my drama teacher told me to check him out. My favourite thing about it is, it seems he understands something a lot of artists dont, that things lying around in the environment have a connection to land where they ly upon, so to take the artwork away from there wouldnt make sense, and as well as introducing man made products to the art woulod alienate the concept. Brilliant!

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