Comments/Context: For the better part of his career, British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy has been making art firmly and deeply rooted in the simplicity of the natural world. Sometimes ephemeral and fleeting, at other times more permanent, his works have consistently explored the fragile limits of found, local materials, always respectfully balancing the existing environment with his own personal point of view. Many of his more temporary sculptures, those that have been washed away by the incoming tide, melted by the sun, or just blown away by the wind, have been carefully documented via photographs, where changing light and passing time have become additional elements in his overall artistic process.
While this description might sound either utterly ridiculous or possibly revolting, the actual effect is surprisingly elegant. In several of the works, Goldsworthy uses his characteristic back and forth snake-like squiggle (alternately rounded and jagged) to traverse a busy street or wander down a long sidewalk. The wet line starts out as deep black or white, and slowly fades as the water evaporates; cars pass, people walk right over it, and the sculpture disappears. In others, Goldsworthy uses the nighttime reflections from an ATM or the gaudy lights of Times Square to illuminate wet circles and improvisational splashes; lurid orange, red, and blue spots stand out on the heavily trafficked sidewalks and then slowly vanish. In the video, the artist lies down in the rain amidst the rushing pedestrians, leaving his outlined form on the cement like a chalk circle for a dead body.
When we lived on the West coast, our young kids would routinely clamber around a sculpture of his at Stanford (here); now that we live in the East, we make the trip to Storm King (here), or just drive down a quiet dirt round not far from our house to see a private commission of his (called Three Roadside Boulders I think). While Goldsworthy's works don't fit neatly into any of our collecting genres, his photographic pieces still tempt us from time to time, and we remain drawn to some of his smaller, more intimate images.
- Spire (here)
- Exhibits: Met, 2004 (here), National Gallery, 2005 (here)
- Interview: Time, 2007 (here)
- Review: NY Times, 2007 (here)