Sunday, 4 September 2011

Land Art

Today I was looking through my bookshelf and I came across a book I was given (I think as a joke) a few years ago. The book is a series of images by the land artist Andy Goldsworthy called Black Stones Red Pools.
Red Pool in Dumfriesshire, Scotland by Andy Goldsworthy
As you can see by the above picture, the title's pretty self explanatory; it's a load of red pools and black stones created by the artist using natural pigment from the surrounding area. The reason I like land art as a concept is the connection it had to its surroundings. It's something that could easily be there without human hands, you could almost walk right past it and not see it's there but when you look closer it reveals itself. Land art isn't loud or brash, it nods towards mother nature and tries to emulate her.
A line in Scotland by Richard Long
I love the narrative of this art, the artist didn't just go out with a mission or an image in mind, but the sculpture grows and takes on its own identity. Each stone is chosen, not just picked up; each stone has it's own uniqueness and personality. When I see these sculptures if I close my eyes I can feel as though I am going on the journey with the artist. The first time a saw a piece by Richard Long in the flesh I have to admit I was so moved I had to look away to stop myself from shedding a tear. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some 'art ponce', but it just makes me so happy to see it, to be in the presence of it. It was like meeting an idol, but it was everything I thought it would be.

This kind of work is site specific so the surroundings dictate the size, shape and look of the final piece. It's just so special to see it, you become a part of that sculptures story. I'd urge anyone if they haven't seen any land art before to look it up, and if you can, go see some in the flesh. As I'm writing this I really can't believe I haven't tried my hand at it myself, perhaps its because I'm too in awe of it. This seems like a project I should try. I'll get back to you on that...

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