08 November 2010

Day 3- A Return to Beauty - Andy Goldsworthy

DAY 3
After the bad taste of Sherry was left lingering in my mouth, I went to bed slightly befuddled and perhaps a little bit crushed by Art. Can tawdry entertainment be called art? Can a urinal? I looked to etymology, poets and thinkers for answers to what is art or at least, what was art. 

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead. [William Butler Yeats]

My husband called me from his "Ceramic Biosphere" in the Chinese countryside where construction dust and burn-off covers orchards with an inch of sediment. 
'Who's that Scottish artist who does ephemeral, site specific sculptures with leaves, icicles and twigs?' 
'Andy Goldsworthy,' answered the Husband. 
So I propose a change of traction. I will look at art which endeavours to return to  this original concept of heroic and religious truths. I am taking a departure from the 'spurious copy' we are lead to believe is art. The hollowness, lack lustre, empty individualism found in contemporary art. 

 
sculpture that uses the reflection of the lake to create the impression of a complete circle.
Icicle joined by saliva

If we are looking for a return to beauty we should start as far away from the artifice in art.  
Andy Goldsworthy, a baby boomer born in rural Britain worked as a farm labourer before going on to study fine art in college. He likens building a sculpture to picking potatoes, "...you have to get into the rhythm of it." An environmentalist, he creates works from the raw stuff of nature in its location using his bare hands, reeds, teeth and saliva to join natural materials in an extraordinary way. In their impermanence, his sculptures talk about the fragility of beauty and nature. There is a child-like wonder to his work which, through its seeming simplicity and readiness to astound the viewer, has turned off some critics. 
L. artem (nom. ars) "art, skill, craft," 
Goldsworthy's skill in gathering, arranging, balancing found objects is exemplary, it is both earthy and painstaking work, no wonder he compares it to picking potatoes. Photography is used to document the natural process of decay - the transient way of the environment. He has also created more permanent sculptures at galleries. 

"Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather. Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature." Andy Goldsworthy