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     Andy Goldsworthy

Non-conventional Artist

        Chelsea Dum

        A ED 211, 2.1

      February 28, 2007
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                                    Andy Goldsworthy

                                     Non-conventional Artist

       In most of my art classes, high school and some art education courses in college, I

have studied artists who use paint, stone, metal, clay, and marble. I have studied about

artists who use more “conventional” materials to create art. Non-conventional materials

are a fairly new way to create a work of art. Andy Goldsworthy is one artist who uses

non-conventional materials to express his feelings through art.

       Andy Goldsworthy was born in Cheshire, Scotland, in the year 1956. He is a

British sculptor and photographer living in Scotland with his wife and children.

Goldsworthy studied art at Bradford College of Art and Preston Polytechnic. After

college, he traveled the world. Throughout his travels, Goldsworthy studied the world’s

changing climate and a variety of geographic materials available. Britain, Europe, Japan,

Yorkshire Dales, the North Pole, Australia, St. Louis, Missouri, and territories of Canada

include the places Goldsworthy has traveled and created works of art out of non-

conventional materials.

       As an environmental sculptor, Goldsworthy’s artwork involves the use of natural,

found objects. Both permanent and temporary sculptures have derived from the natural

and found objects. He usually chooses natural and found objects that make the disposition

of their environment stand out. Goldsworthy’s materials are selected from remote

locations where he is creating the art piece. Twigs, stone, leaves, snow, ice, mud, brightly

colored flowers (dandelions), and pinecones are the most common materials he uses.

Goldsworthy also explores other natural materials such as sand, grass, and clay. The

natural and found materials and the subject matter depend on the seasons and the weather
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of the location Goldsworthy creates his project. Goldsworthy highly relies on nature to

help and guide him to create art. When he is traveling, he never has a predetermined idea

about what his next project will be and what materials he will use. His bare hands, teeth,

and found tools prepare and assemble the materials he is working with. Goldsworthy

hardly ever uses machine tools. Although in some permanent sculptures such as “Stone

River” and “Moonlit Path” he needed to use machine tools.

       Since most of Goldsworthy’s work is created in the open air and some of the

projects are temporary, Goldsworthy photographs all his projects. Photographed

documents include the location and the date of the projects finishing point. In some

instances, he will even create a sketch after the work is completed. In some cases,

Goldsworthy has filmed his projects, especially to see the affects of nature over time on

the artwork, an idea of growth and decay. He photographs each project to show that:

       each work grows, stays, decays—integral parts of a cycle which the photograph

       shows at its height, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an

       in intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process

       and decay are implicit. (1997)

       Goldsworthy’s work addresses the issues involving movement, light, decay and

growth, usually referring to seasonal cycles. In many of his projects, Goldsworthy revisits

forms used in previous projects such as mounds, holes, spirals, and lines. Some of

Goldsworthy’s projects include:

        a bright fringe of red shining leaves on heavy boulders, a row of leaves changing

       from greeny white over yellow to dark green, pebbles concentrically arranged
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       from big to small and from dark to light about a black hole, and icicles frozen

       together into a spiral. (2002)

Goldsworthy does no give up on any project he attacks. If the un-completed project falls

apart, he starts over. Each time he has to start over, Goldsworthy believes he gets to

“know” the natural material better. Time plays an important factor in his projects and he

is usually working within a time framework. Typically, Goldsworthy’s work needs to be

completed in one day because light and temperature would affect the works subsistence.

       I have an open mind when it comes to art. A lot of people, including me, say

nature is a great influence to their art. In Goldsworthy’s work I can clearly see how

nature has influenced him.

       At its most successful, my ‘tough’ looks into the heart of nature, most days I don’t

       even get close. These things are all part of a transient process that I cannot

       understand unless my touch is also transient—only in this way can the cycle

       remain unbroken and the process be complete. (1997)

Andy Goldsworthy’s quote made me think about nature. Goldsworthy has really opened

my mind to the beauty of nature. When I look and observe Goldsworthy’s work, I think

of impossible phenomenons. Goldsworthy is bringing to life something beautiful and

natural. I can tell through his work, he appreciates nature. His work on growth and decay

reminds me of the decay in the world, pollution.

       Nature is the greatest art piece. Goldsworthy’s artwork clearly supports the idea

of the relationship of human survival with nature. From Goldsworthy using natural and

found objects to create artwork, shows that human beings are capable of controlling

nature, but when it comes down to reality nature will constantly control us.
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(1997). What is art…? …what is an artist?. Retrieved February 26, 2007, from

(2002). Andy Goldsworthy: the beauty of creation. Retrieved February 26, 2007, from

(2003). Eyestorm: Andy Goldsworthy. Retrieved February 26, 2007, from

(2007). Cass Sculpture Foundation: Andy Goldsworthy. Retrieved February 26, 2007,


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