Monday, September 19, 2011

Initial thoughts on Andy Goldsworthy

Seeing the unpredictability of working with nature with which the artist is seemingly comfortable is is fascinating to me. When i am doing art myself, I has always a serious fear of unpredictability, always making sure that i had the final product in mind. I am truly inspired to be more open to chances and possibilities, allowing art to take its desired form while working with the medium.

I once felt that Han Sai Por work was really close to nature and integrated into nature. However, after seeing how this artist worked with his medium (nature) with such intimacy, I suddenly felt that Han Sai Por's work was much more planned, perfected, or somewhat artificial in comparison. It is hard to say which artist is better at creating works nature related as they simply took on a different approach and view working with nature in different perspective. While Andy use the most organic elements in nature (twigs, stones) and manipulated them mostly with his hands and little or no tools, Han Sai Por used various tools to hammer, chisel and smooth various materials to create her work. 

In my opinion, i prefer Andy's work as it felt that it truly reflected what nature truly was like: Wild, unpredictable, perfection within imperfections. As for Han Sai Por, her works resembles different aspects of nature, and her forms were generally well-rendered, planed, precise. However, it was made her work somelike unlike nature, or rather, too perfected to be nature.

I then went on to think hard regarding whether which kind of art can be truly considered as art? Which kind of art do soce I feel that society needs both kinds of artist, or rather both kinds of art. We need something like Han Sai Por work : structured, perfected, lasting, durable and suitable for display as it was something people can look at day by day as they work, live in their environment. At the same time, it is refreshing and much needed for works like that of Andy to truly open our eyes to nature, it potential, it control over us, rather than us over it, as what we usually believe. It is also a reminder for us to always be open to changes, failures, possibilities and to be accepting and less afraid of it. If possible, even to take it as a chance to learn about ourselves, or through art and nature. 

Another idea that came upon me was to wonder which was the real artist - Nature or us? Upon watching Andy's videos, i dawned upon me the almost inexistant  control we actually have over nature. Similarly, medium, paint, materials and more. We may think that we can control them. However, when you see how nature can be in control of andy's works that are closely integrated into nature : Tides submerging the work, the wind blowing the work apart, this idea breaks instantaneously breaks apart.  

Yet, from a different point of view, nature is the best artist, the one in absolute control. This is shown from the how the sunset illuminates the icicles, making it look profoundly magical and enlightening. 

It is interesting how the artist dealt with colour from sources in nature such as red pigment from rocks, saying how there is a scariness and voilence in the colour red. As he approaches the source, he learns more about colour later reflecting that there is much to be learnt from the colour.

Seeing his work establishes a stark contrast in the type of environments different artist works in. While working in school premises is seemingly Protected, Safe, working in natural environments such as a beach, is breathlessly uncertain yet energetic at the same time. 

His works well reflects how nature is quietly engaging. It also shows the exclusiveness of nature as the artist said something about "land not needing him as he needs it" as he aims to bridge the gap and distance between human and nature. The artist also said that he loves land or rather, needs the land. He sees the coldness in the relationship between people and nature. As he venture into new lands, he feels like a stranger, out of touch with unwelcoming nature.

It is particularly inspiring that the Artist works barehand as he feels that he does not have the sensitivity when working with gloves. Thus, despite the extreme cold, he used to hand, teeth, to work with elements of nature. He also puts in effort to his art effortless - eg: as the sun comes out, it illuminates the icicles.

He enjoys going into the woods to make a piece of work. He seeks to achieve balance in his work, especially when his works collapse time over time as a result the forces of nature. I believe feelings of sadness, amazement is inevitable in his process of creating art: watching his work falls apart under the force of nature, also watching his work being illuminated by nature. He eventually achieved a mastery of balance. Even so, as the sea comes in, his work disappears and he feels that the contact is still strong although he can no longer see his work

His work is recorded through video and photography as his works are short lived and temporal. Access a work through photography is necessary in his case and i feel that it may even be better than first hand experience with the work. This is because photography allows the viewer to view the work in the eyes of the artist himself which will best represent what his work is about. Also, due to the nature of his works, first hand experience is near impossible and even if the viewer could travel the place to view his work, it could have already be altered by the forces of nature.

A question was raised in class about the prevalence of prep work in his art. I feel that the artist did do prep. In his case, prep is about understanding his surroundings as well as carry out trials with his material, redoing once and again after each failure.

The artist also said that "though control is the death of an artwork" meaning that it is important to not fix and idea of the end product and the importance of having the product shaped through experience. This is very significant to me as i am many a times guilty in commiting this mistake in the process of doing art.

I feel that Andy is a creative, inventive artist that is able to make great decisions even with the most unconventional material. He is also very sensitive towards his surroundings, being able to see the "potential" to create art even in the most deserted, remote or seemingly uninteresting environments.

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