Andy Goldsworthy is one of the most popular artists on our Pinterest boards. For those of you unfamiliar with his work Goldsworthy is a British artist who creates sculptures made from an assortment of raw natural items. The materials he uses are often transitory and fleeting things such as water, ice, snow, flower petals, or partially decomposed leaves. He is also fond of using twigs and rocks. Sometimes these materials are simply gathered together like nest forms or stacked like cairns. At other times he makes simple modifications using basic tools such as sharpened rocks and quills or just his hands and teeth.
Although Goldsworthy creates some work to be exhibited in urban environments and indoor spaces, most of his sculptures are placed outdoors in countryside settings, or even incredibly remote locations. Because the materials he uses are so fragile and time sensitive, and because he often works in out-of-the-way locations, Goldsworthy is also well-known for the documentary photographs he takes of his sculptures and installations.
Andy Goldsworthy is noted for his poetic and inventive use of materials. He has floated a composition of grasses and flower petals on a pool of water; filled a crevice in a rocky cliff with bright yellow dandelion blossoms; built sculptural forms out of leaves held together by thorns; and even joined icicles into one big sub-freezing configuration using his own saliva.
Goldsworthy uses commonplace things found and modified just a few feet from where he arranges and presents them. The finished image, however, is far removed from what we expect. Instead of being a random and somewhat camouflaged assortment of wet and moldy natural objects, Goldsworthy’s creations have a designed elegance and bold minimalist presence that seems totally at home in a sophisticated art gallery or museum.
Goldsworthy uses the materials he finds in each location to create visual metaphors that illustrate the primary forms and forces we find in nature. Ribbons of leaves that mimic the flow of ancient riverbeds. Rock walls and cairns that will last for centuries. Structures that will be destroyed in a single day by incoming tides or mid-day temperature rises.
Nature holds an unlimited supply of colors, textures, shapes and lines. It is the home ground for unity and variety, rhythm, scale and time. Andy Goldsworthy is masterful at exploiting the full range of these organic design elements and principles. But as visually stunning as his work is, it is also the work of someone who knows and cares about nature….pure and simple. This kinship with nature gives Andy Goldsworthy’s work a sense of enduring authenticity.