Andy Goldsworthy’s poetical vision of nature
Since he was a student at Preston Polytechnic in northern England, Goldsworthy realized that his artistic interests were tied more closely to his youthful agricultural labors in Yorkshire than to life classes and studio work. Like those 19th-century painters, he is obsessed with the way sunlight falls and flickers, especially on stone, water and leaves. The balanced boulders, snow arches and leaf-rimmed holes that he crafted were his versions of the plein-air sketches of landscape artists. Instead of representing the landscape, however, he was drawing on the landscape itself.
By using the landscape as his material, he can illustrate aspects of the natural world—its color, mutability, energy—without resorting to mimicry. Although he usually works in rural settings, his definition of the natural world is expansive. “Nature for me isn’t the bit that stops in the national parks,” he says. “It’s in a city, in a gallery, in a building. It’s everywhere we are.”