Friday Inspiration: Andy Goldsworthy


I dimly remember Andy Goldsworthy from when I lived in the UK, perhaps through that veritable institution Blue Peter, but his work didn’t connect with me at the time. I recently rediscovered Goldsworthy through his book, Time, that I found when I was browsing in a bookstore – remember those?

Andy Goldsworthy is a ‘land artist‘, a sculptor who uses the elements of nature as the materials for his sculptures. There seems to be a balance between the permanent works done with stone and the more ephemeral sculptures made with fallen branches, leaves, and ice. Thinking about his more transitory work made me think harder about why I photograph, I’m not sure that I would be happy to see my constructions disappear as the weather changed or the tide changed. Perhaps the change that ensues is part of the process and that seeing how the work develops with time is as satisfying as it was to make in the first place.

It was interesting to see Goldsworthy working in the field and to realize how close to the edge he operates. Many times it seems as though he could be 2/3rds of the way into making a work and it collapses, not once but over and over again. I hardly think that I would have maintained my composure in the face of such frustrations as Goldsworthy manages. Persistence clearly wins the day. Check out the videos below to see what I mean.

19 thoughts on “Friday Inspiration: Andy Goldsworthy

    • I agree – really fantastic. The ball that he made in the shorter video I posted blew me away both in execution and final effect. I love how it appears to be floating in the flowing water.

      • Agreed. Not sure if you’re into it, but MoMA is having a show of Matisse cutouts. It’s the biggest collection of this work ever assembled. It’s just ending at the Tate and coming to NY. Not that the cutouts have anything really to do with Goldsworthy’s work but in my mind they do as they’re very natural forms (made by Matisse) and have a natural look to them. And, like Goldsworthy “going” with nature, Matisse got so old he couldn’t get out of bed so he “went” with another form of expression. It should be a fantastic show.

      • Thanks for posting the video of the “ball”, the finished piece is beautiful and appears almost impossibly perfect in its shape. I only discovered Andy’s art very recently and it is so inspiring!

      • The finished ‘ball’ in that one video really blew my mind. Amazing how it turned out and even more so how it appears to float in the stream.

  1. I love Andy Goldsworthy’s work! Unfortunately I lost his books in my divorce. Gotta get around to buying them for myself some day. Your header photo is really beautiful.

  2. I don’t like to reblog — but I’m tempted.
    I LOVE Andy Goldsworthy but am also lazy. And here you’ve done a splendid job of summarizing and finding great videos to show off the process. Yes, tempting!
    Meanwhile, thanks for this post.

  3. Adore Goldsworthy! Rivers and Tides and, of course, his remarkable books nearly blinded me with his brilliance! Thanks for honoring this fine environmental artist! (and also for dropping by my blog, Andrew).

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