Andy Goldsworthy, (born 1956) is a remarkable environmental sculptor (working in the landscape today) in which his uses of natural surroundings create an art form. He explores and experiments with various organic substances such as twigs, leaves, stones snow and ice, as well as artificial paints, cuttings and holes. He then photographs each sculpture right after he makes it. Goldsworthys artwork reinforces the relationship of human existence within nature.
In relation to my project, I studied one of his books called, ‘Hand to Earth’. This book covers the beautifully produced sculptors he has made between 1976 and 1990. Whilst I looked through this book I found his techniques very fascinating, which generally inspired me into following some of his paths for my final piece. I could see that he particularly enjoyed the theme of holes and cracks within nature and grounds.
Partly scraped and rubbed
Holes in natural substances
As a response to one of his pieces I collected a bundle of branches and leaves in order to try and cut a whole in the centre. This was difficult because the leaves were on a table and therefore kept moving. However I think this technique was overall unsuccessful because Andy Goldsworthys’ holes looked very genuine and authentic with a proper structure of a hole. On the other hand, the hole I cut looked rather forged because I simply used a black paper underneath the leaves and the shadow lining of the leaves became easily noticed on the paper.
Horse chestnut leaves
Cambridge, England 24 July 1986
Footprint using ICT
As a response to both Goldsorthys, and Longs approach to nature, I took a photo of a shoeprint I made on mud, and a photo of small rocks from the schools Japanese garden. Using ICT, I imported the photos onto the computer and put the picture of the shoeprint on top of the pebbles as two separate layers. As an influence from Goldsworthys sculptors, I decided to set holes into the mud of the shoeprint so that almost a new dimension of the picture of the pebbles underneath would appear through the holes.
This would be interesting because you do not expect to see a footprint made on pebbles. I approached this effect by using a dissolve and liquefy tool on Adobe photoshop. Luckily this was successful and the holes were large enough for the pebbles to be seen underneath. The reason why I liked this piece was because both photos were primary; the footprint particularly associates with Longs sculptures, and the artificial holes I set in the mud shows a form that Goldsworthy uses in his sculptures.
Another sculpture Goldsworthy produced was a trench he had dug up using clay supported with sticks over two days and showed Earth brought to an edge. Again I really liked this idea because the whole idea of holes links in well with them theme of underneath simply because a hole on the ground is underneath and underneath again. As a response I took a picture of large stones on the ground covered with cracks, and by photocopying this image to a larger scale, I split the rocks in two separated grounds to make it look as though they are also brought to an edge.
After researching and studying his sculptures, I came to a personal conclusion about them that the use of holes in the ground (or nature in general) was to disconnect and separate nature. Also to show nature and Earth being disturbed by humans. After deducing this, I decided to experiment with some of my own ideas about humans disturbing the nature of things.
I started off by collecting organic stones and began painting them with gold paint. I used gold because it is particularly attractive and shiny. In addition I am showing the contrast between Richard Longs very natural and subtle sculptures as oppose to Goldsworthys’ use of artificial and unexpected colouring onto Earth materials and manipulated landscape. He has done this with sticks, leaves and even stones (I have included some examples). This also links with surrealism and the way the artists show things that we don’t expect to see.
Experiment with Golden Stones
Furthermore I used these painted rocks to construct a curved shape on the grounds of the school where students pass the most and watched to see what would happen. Funnily enough I saw that it caught most peoples attention that passed by them. It took less than a minute for children passing by to kick the rocks about and pick them up to play with, which shows how attention grabbing the artificial colouring onto natural matter can be. However this was not the case with the unpainted stones I used to put in the school simply because they may have come across less attractive everyday rocks.
From these experiments it shows that we as humans have some ability of controlling nature, but eventually, in the end, nature controls us.
In one of Andy Goldsworthy sculptors, ‘Poppy petals’, he has wrapped poppy petals around a granite boulder. What makes it interesting is the fact that the red poppy petals stand out significantly amongst the rest and also because he has chosen a smaller rock amid larger rocks. This technique particularly grasped my attention because I liked the idea of having one dominating piece of rock amongst rocks.
I enjoyed the responses I made to Andy Goldsworthys’ sculptures because they’re bizarre and irregular sculptures such as synthetic onto organic forms encouraged me to explore the theme more. Also, whilst producing patterns and shapes outside I saw that many others were also amused and fascinated into what and why I was doing this. I found Magrittes work very exciting because I gained a complete different sensation to his paintings than any other artist I researched.
Overall I think the outcome of my final turned out quite well however not really how I wanted. Although I made sure I carefully planned all that I would do, I still had many difficulties in the final exam. The scale I wanted to draw the stones in were just right because I had already made a format that I could refer to check the size of the stone drawing with. This was very useful, as well as the mock up that I did.
On the other hand I experienced some problems whilst painting and sponging acrylic onto paper simply because I had a few accidents where the wrong paints got onto the paper by the sponge and therefore it meant I had to remake the stone. I also felt as though I did was unable to put in full effort into making the rocks due to the time limit. Although my final may not look like tough work, I am sure it was not trouble-free constructing each rock individually in the right proportion, cutting and pasting then putting them all together in the right composition.