The Artistry of Andy Goldsworthy

My husband introduced me to Andy Goldsworthy, a British artist who makes the most amazing compositions within natural settings. In his biography the artist mentions his collaboration with nature to produce uniquely personal and intense artworks. This resonates when you see his work.

Like the sacred geometry of the nautilus shell, Goldsworthy blends his compositions seamlessly into the environment at the same time they emerge with rich contrast and pattern.

Using natural materials like snow, ice, leaves, bark, rock, clay, stones, feathers, petals, or twigs to form sculptures that manifest, however fleeting, a sympathetic contact with the natural world. His work is recorded in suburb color photographs as the pieces transition.

Deliberately exploring tension in his work, the artists makes his creations in the locale where he finds materials. He is undeterred by weather in the process of capturing the essence of collusion. Many of his works fail. The delicate structures crash from a wisp of wind, a sudden rainfall melts away a spectacular ice arch or washes out a frail web of grasses.

After viewing his art, it becomes apparent that Goldsworthy’s intent is not to “make his mark” on the landscape, but rather to work with it instinctively. I believe he succeeds.

He has this to say about the philosophy of how he approaches his work:

At its most successful, my ‘touch’ looks into the heart of nature; most days I don’t even get close. These things are all part of the transient process that I cannot understand unless my touch is also transient—only in this way can the cycle remain unbroken and the process complete. I cannot explain the importance to me of being part of the place, its seasons and changes… My approach to photograph is kept simple, almost routine. All work, good and bad, is documented. I use standard film, a standard lens and no filters. Process and decay are implicit.

 Like to see more of this artist’s work? Visit the Andy Goldsworthy Digital Catalog CD. The collection showcases his early work (1976-1986).

Browse his personal website for his perspective on the making of his art. There are numerous publications illustrating his photography, all of which are gorgeous coffee-table tomes.

I can even recommend a documentary of him at work on various projects, titled Rivers and Tides.

Does art spark your interest, make you want to explore ideas and mediums? Try making a composition out of what you find in your yard – be opportunistic! What makes you sit up and take notice? Art surrounds us – what’s hanging on your walls and sitting atop your tables?

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  1. #1 by Natalie Hartford on January 24, 2012 - 11:05 am

    Ahhhmazing!!! His artwork is stunning and spectacular! I love it. Thank you so much for sharing! It does inspire me to step out and make my own art!

    • #2 by Leslie on January 25, 2012 - 9:24 am

      It’s really fun to issue a challenge to friends and try to replicate one of his works. It’s SO much more difficult than he makes it look! Try it on one of your weekends in the country!

  2. #3 by Angela Wallace on January 24, 2012 - 3:06 pm

    Those are incredible! Wow. Thanks for sharing, Lesann!

    • #4 by Leslie on January 25, 2012 - 9:25 am

      I just love his work. I’m happy to share it with everyone. After I’d a chance to see how unique and unusual so many of his pieces are, I was amazed I hadn’t run across it before. So glad you’ve enjoyed it too!

  3. #5 by Bridgette Booth on January 24, 2012 - 3:16 pm

    Wow. Oh wow. I love this. What imagination and creativity. As for my art collection goes from G Harvey (great fan of his American market series) to art glass from James Hayes.

    • #6 by Leslie on January 25, 2012 - 9:26 am

      Aren’t these amazing? If you have a chance to watch the entire video of Rivers and Tides, it’f fascinating to see how delicate the construction of his work can be. I just love it.

  4. #7 by Marcia Richards on January 24, 2012 - 7:30 pm

    I love this, Lesann! I will definitely go to his website. His photography is simple but pure like his art. I’d love one of his coffee table books! thanks for sharing!

    • #8 by Leslie on January 25, 2012 - 9:28 am

      Isn’t it simply wonderful? It’s interesting to see how he can collect simple objects, arrange them in complex forms, and still tie everything into the environment like it emerged naturally. If you get a chance to watch Rivers and Tides, he’s very interesting to observe. The process of making his art pieces is painstaking (and sometimes painful). I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  5. #9 by Debra Kristi on January 24, 2012 - 10:41 pm

    His art is amazing! I love it! Yes, I am over using!!! Thank you for bringing him to my attention. Wonderful post Lesann!

    • #10 by Leslie on January 25, 2012 - 9:31 am

      I think it’s amazing too! I laugh at how all of us (a bunch of writers), that never use “!!!” in our work, slap them all over each other’s blogs. Love it! Thanks for visiting.

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