Andy Goldsworthy Environmentalist & Land Art & Site Sculptures


            Andy Goldsworthy, a British sculptor, was born on July 26, 1956. He is an environmentalist who produces land art and site-specific sculptures that are from natural and urban settings. Goldsworthy is known to be, not only an environmentalist but also a photographer and a naturalist.  All aspects of nature in the world has been the inspiration for his work (Goldsworthy & Riedelsheimer, 2004).  These aspects include but are not limited to, reeds, tree roots, logs, snowflakes, icicles, and rocks. This paper will discuss how art as well as Andy Goldsworthy’s imagination functioning in his life and also how art has functioned in my life

            Goldsworthy is normally called an environmental sculptor.  This is fascinating because it shows how creative his mind is.  He will take nothing but materials,  found in a certain environment, and create sculptures.  These materials include stones, icicles, snow, leaves, and sticks (Goldsworthy & Riedelsheimer, 2004). The work that he creates is highly limited in time and space.  Goldsworthy has also been known to do permanent pieces which he does for commission.  After creating sculptures, that are not permanent, Goldsworthy will take a photograph of the sculpture before it washes away, melts, or collapses.  He likes to take these photographs so the sculpture can be viewed before it is transformed.

The video, Rivers, and Tides, shows how he is trying to understand the processes of nature.  The first sculpture that he made was one with icicles.  He would bite and lick the icicles to shape them. Dabbing the icicles in water and snow he would then glue them together on both sides of a large boulder figure (Goldsworthy & Riedelsheimer, 2004).  When he steps back from the sculpture it more clear to see that he is making a ribbon shaped figure by the way it is lacing itself in and out of the the the boulder.  While this is amazing, the most fascinating part of the sculpture is the tail end that is being being defied by gravity and is pointing up towards the sky.  The sun has risen up behind the boulder and illuminates the sculpture like a flame.

            The video also shows another sculpture that he has created out of wood (driftwood) that has the form of a whirlpool. The figure was shaped like a dome.  He has created it on the edge of the water where he knows the river will flow into the sea.  When the work is finished, Goldsworthy is standing with his colleague and is admiring it (Goldsworthy & Riedelsheimer, 2004).  The question came to be if the sculpture would stay intact when the tide comes in.  The answer was no because the sculpture was not held together by anything.  When the tide came in, the sculpture was slowly dislodged, floating off in a circular motion like a whirlpool and breaking up in the current.  Goldsworthy didn’t feel like the piece was being destroyed.  He felt like it was gift back to nature.

            Another fascinating and famous figure that Goldsworthy is famous for is large figures shaped into cones.  He uses stone to shape the figures.  There is a scene in the video where he is trying to build the pine-coned-shaped figure by the edge of the water before the tide comes in.  The hard part of creating the figure was trying to figure out the weight of the stones that would properly balance the sculpture. After many hours of attempting to get the sculpture built, it is finally finished before the tide comes in.  Once the tide comes in and starts to cover the sculpture, it would appear as if the sculpture would be destroyed. To amazement though, once the tide goes down, the sculpture is still intact.

In essence, art has played a significant role in my life as it has helped me in relieving stress. Viewing art helps to divert the mind’s attention from stressing factors and instead engage the mind to try to interpret the art. Art has had a social function in my life, especially when addressing the factors of collective life rather than an individual’s perspective or experience. Art with certain symbolic themes has been utilized to express some concerns or issues to the government on behalf of the citizens. Being part of the citizens, I have been represented by the art by communicating our issues affecting the common citizens to the government for a better change and intervention. Art has also facilitated my personal functions by enabling me to express myself through art. In essence, art has been part of my life and has contributed a lot to my life. Goldsworthy’s work has been very inspirational and he shows that if you put your mind to it, anything can be created out of nature. He has demonstrated that it is important for one to demonstrate his or her imagination in art as a way of expressing themselves. Therefore it is evident that art has functioned in his life in a physical, social, and personal form.