andy goldsworthy summary
andy goldsworthy, sculptor and photographer, not only works with nature, but in nature. Instead of building monumental constructions on or off the ground, Goldsworthy works almost telepathically with nature, rearranging its natural forms in such a way that he enhances its beauty rather than detracts from it. often quite small in scale, his site-specific poetic pieces are made from ephemeral or organic materials (dandelion blossoms set in a ring or icicles perched on a rock) and then documented through gorgeous photography in Colour. goldsworthy sees the inevitable death and decay in his work as part of the cycle of life: he takes an environmental approach and shows great respect for the natural world as most of his pieces gradually fade into the earth from which they come. I have come.
- The natural world (and all its myriad forms) is the artist’s primary material. As a sculptor working with nature, Goldsworthy takes advantage of its limitations to gain a deeper understanding of it. His approach not only makes nature a co-author of his work, but also emphasizes that the human being is not separate from nature, but rather an inexorable part of it.
- goldsworthy’s work is grounded in a minimalist aesthetic that derives from seeing the poetic in the everyday. stones, rocks, branches, twigs, leaves, and ice are carefully and patiently arranged, making use of various repeating motifs, such as meandering lines, spirals, circles, and holes.
- goldsworthy is a very practical sculptor for whom much of the work resides in the creation process. “learning and understanding through touch and creation is a simple but profoundly important reason for doing my job”. His enthusiasm and wonder are expressed through the creation, as he commented, “each work is a discovery”.
- the passage of time and its eventual dissolution of materiality is central to goldsworthy’s work. By focusing on the ephemeral, Goldsworthy rejects the idea of art as a commodity to be displayed and sold. Furthermore, he sees the fact that he uses temporary objects as a reflection of the ever-changing world we live in and the need to understand that nothing is eternal.
- goldsworthy is interested in the social history of the land he is working on and that includes its human population. he feels it is important to acknowledge a site’s rich history and the various connections people have in relation to the land. as he has said, “people also leave a presence in a place even when they are no longer there”.
the life of andy goldsworthy
important art by andy goldsworthy
biography of andy goldsworthy
andy goldsworthy was born in the town of sale in cheshire, in the north of england. When he was still a young boy, he moved his family to a suburb outside Leeds. his parents, f. Allin and Muriel Goldsworthy, were strict Methodists, instilling a hard work ethic in the artist from an early age. at age 13, he began spending weekends and summers working on nearby farms. Rather than being interested in heavy machinery like most farm workers, he preferred the meditative quality of repetitive manual tasks. clearly some important ideas about the possibilities inherent in nature began to take shape at this time. as he later commented: “farming is a very statuesque profession. build haystacks or plow fields, burn stubble”. it’s tempting to make a connection between this and the patterns and formations he would find in nature.
early training and work
goldsworthy was sure he would be a farmer or a gardener, and that art would be a hobby. this lack of confidence was likely a result of the initial obstacles he faced when applying to art schools. he applied to several before, in 1974, he was finally accepted as a foundation student at bradford college of art. once he finished his freshman year, he again struggled to find a place in a degree course. His resilience eventually paid off, and from 1975 to 1978 he studied art at Preston Polytechnic in Lancaster.
While in art school, Goldsworthy couldn’t stand working in a tiny, partitioned studio. this led him to explore the outdoors, a move that was central to his work and ultimately shaped his entire career. in nature, he found inspiration and abundant materials. In his own words: “One day in my freshman year (of college) I went out on the beach and dug things up, made lines, and the tide came up and washed them away. I learned more about the tide, the sand, the texture, I learned a lot in those couple of hours. and I switched to working outside. I didn’t really go back inside.” Through his teachers, he was introduced to and inspired by the works of Joseph Beuys and Robert Smithson. Although Goldsworthy’s recognition grew steadily from that point on, the ephemeral nature of his work meant that he was an artist who was not easily categorized, largely remaining outside the gallery system and off the market. it also meant that, out of necessity, he had to find ways to document his work so that there would be some tangible physical evidence of his many fleeting natural creations. It took almost a decade for Goldsworthy to start making enough money to file taxes.
period of maturity
in 1982, goldsworthy married sculptress judith gregson. A short time later, he got a job in Carlisle and they moved north. a few years later, mainly for financial reasons, they crossed the border to the village of penpont in the scottish lowlands, where he still lives today. Together, they had four children: James, Holly, Anna, and Thomas.
in the mid-1990s, goldsworthy was a renowned artist. he had public and private commissions all over the world, but art critics and historians sometimes criticized his work solely for beautifying nature. at a time when conceptual artists dominated the landscape, some saw his work as not conceptual enough and his pastoral approach to art making could be considered too pretty. Goldsworthy himself stood his ground, reflecting on the transitory side of his creations and how “every work grows, remains, decays.” in the early 2000s, he was appointed visiting professor at cornell university in new york state; a position he held for nearly a decade. he was also awarded the order of the british empire (obe), a community award for his contribution to the arts. around the same time, and only a couple of years after the documentary river and tides showed them as a happy and harmonious family, gregson and goldsworthy divorced.
shortly after their divorce, goldsworthy met art historian tina fiske while participating in a project about her work. They became romantically involved and had a son named Joel. They are still together, although they have never been married.
The following years were marked by great professional success and personal tragedy. In 2008, Goldsworthy’s ex-wife was killed in a car accident. a few years later, his mother muriel de él died unexpectedly (his father had already passed away). these losses influenced his later works, in which he drew on ideas of impermanence, emptiness, and even directly, death. as he got older, his works became darker and also more physical. photographs depicting figures leaning into strong winds are among his most recent pieces. He currently works with his daughter Holly, who is helping to preserve his artistic legacy by extensively cataloging his work.
the legacy of andy goldsworthy
Gold-worthy remodeled land art. although other terrestrial artists such as robert smithson (creator of the large-scale spiral jetty), michael heizer (creator of the double negative) and british artist richard have long worked on projects large-scale landscape paintings, goldsworthy has developed a more intimate, sociological and humanistic approach. His interest in specific geographical points of the earth, its history and the relationship between organic matter and human presence has set him apart from those who work with the earth as a mere canvas or material.
in an article for artnet, critic amah-rose abrams stated: “unlike the monumental nature of some land art, goldsworthy’s art is about a subtle interaction, often on a modest scale, with the outdoors the elusiveness of beauty is key to his work, his art also bears a similarity to the work of japanese architect tadao ando in its perfect relationship with the landscape the work of american artists maya lin and michael grab shares similarities with that of goldsworthy lin’s the wave field and goldsworthy’s storm king wall are located close together within the storm king art center, highlighting the dialogue between the two works. ‘s work balances pebbles in the same way that goldsworthy balances ice chips, twigs and rocks.
Although it is difficult to pin down the extent of the artistic contribution of someone still very committed to his career, Goldsworthy has made a very direct contribution to the environmental debate. His love and appreciation of nature has inspired many artists whose practice focuses squarely on ecology. artists such as mel chin, ellie irons, mary mattingly, and even the celebrated gabriel orozco and vik muniz, are among those who have used their art to highlight the negative effects of modern society on the environment and advocate for change. with the continued pollution of the planet and global warming, such voices carry an important message.