November 5, 2004

Earth Artist Lectures On Unique Technique

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Andy Goldsworthy, a leader in the Earth Art movement, discussed the initial stages of his career in a lecture and presentation entitled “Documenting Andy Goldsworthy’s Early Ephemerial Work: an Interview with Andy Goldsworthy” yesterday afternoon in the Statler Auditorium. Accompanied by Tina Fiske, the current Andy Goldsworthy research fellow at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Goldsworthy guided the audience through the British terrain, mapping out the locations of his natural art and providing images of the works themselves.

Despite presenting his art to an audience that nearly filled the Statler Auditorium, Goldsworthy’s demeanor was casual, friendly and funny. Fiske, who is currently assembling a digital catalogue of Goldsworthy’s ephemeral outdoor work from the 1970s and 1980s, prompted his comments, asking him about certain pieces and the stories behind their creation. Much of his presentation was anecdotal, as Goldsworthy recalled the humorous and challenging events that defined his career. At one point he mused that he has now been invited to speak at every one of the art schools that rejected him when he was an aspiring art student.

Goldsworthy uses all natural media — stone, leaves, grass, branches, snow and ice — to create his outdoor art. Assembled in natural settings and left to decay in the wilderness, his pieces are meant to be enjoyed instantaneously.

“Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding,” he has said. “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.”

Goldsworthy’s fascination with nature and sculpting was inspired by the farm labor he performed as a boy.

“Farming is a very sculptural activity,” he said. “It taught me to work physically and sculpturally.”

In a feature published by the New York Times in May 2004, Goldsworthy’s pieces are characterized as structures that “are consistently well-crafted, richly colored and visually striking.” According to the Times,”[h]e favors curvy lines and geometric shapes, particularly circles.”

In 1999, Goldsworthy worked in Cornell’s Fall Creek Gorge and presented the Georges Lurcy Lecture. The following year, he returned to Cornell to build a sculpture in the Johnson Museum that would accompany photographs of the pieces he had created in the gorge. In 2000, Goldsworthy was appointed to a six-year term as an A.D. White Professor. Since being appointed, he has invited students to participate in a number of installations around the world and has donated two of his own sculptures to the University.

Archived article by Ellen Miller
Sun Senior Writer