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Artists Andy Goldsworthy
Andy Goldsworthy Photo

Andy Goldsworthy

British Sculptor and Photographer

Movements and Styles: Earth Art, Environmental Art

Born: July 25th, 1956 - Sale Moor, Cheshire, England

Andy Goldsworthy Timeline

Quotes

"A good work is a moment of clarity. Then it all becomes unclear."
Andy Goldsworthy
"Learning and understanding through touch and making is a simple but deeply important reason for doing my work"
Andy Goldsworthy
"I couldn't possibly try to improve on Nature. I'm only trying to understand it by an involvement in some of its processes."
Andy Goldsworthy
"The reason why the stone is red is its iron content, which is also why our blood is red."
Andy Goldsworthy
"As with all my work, whether it's a leaf on a rock or ice on a rock, I'm trying to get beneath the surface appearance of things. Working the surface of a stone is an attempt to understand the internal energy of the stone."
Andy Goldsworthy
"People also leave presence in a place even when they are no longer there."
Andy Goldsworthy
"Not being able to touch is sometimes as interesting as being able to touch."
Andy Goldsworthy
"Each work is a discovery."
Andy Goldsworthy

"We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So, when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we've lost our connection to ourselves."

Synopsis

A sculptor and photographer, Andy Goldsworthy not only works with nature, but in nature. Rather than building monumental constructions on or out of the land, Goldsworthy works almost telepathically with nature, rearranging its natural forms in such a way as to enhance rather than detract from their beauty. Often quite small in scale, his poetic site-specific pieces are made from ephemeral or organic materials - dandelion flowers lain in a ring or icicles perched on a rock - and then documented through gorgeous color photographs. Goldsworthy views the inevitable death and decay in his work as part of the life cycle - he takes an environmentalist's approach, lending an utmost respect toward the natural world as most of his pieces gradually fade away into the land from which they've come.

Key Ideas

The natural world (and all its myriad forms) is the artist's primary material. As a sculptor working with nature, Goldsworthy harnesses its limitations to gain a deeper understanding of it. His approach not only makes nature the co-author of his work, but emphasizes that human beings are not separate from nature, but are rather an inexorable part of it.
Goldsworthy's work draws upon a Minimalist aesthetic that derives from seeing the poetic in the everyday. Stones, rocks, branches, twigs, leaves and ice are arranged carefully and patiently, making use of various repeated motifs such as snaking lines, spirals, circles and holes.
Goldsworthy is a very hands-on sculptor for whom a large point of the work resides in the process of making it. "Learning and understanding through touch and making is a simple but deeply important reason for doing my work." His enthusiasm and wonder express themselves through the making, as he remarked, "each work is a discovery."
The passage of time and its eventual dissolution of materiality is central to Goldsworthy's work. In focusing on ephemerality, Goldsworthy rejects the idea of art as a commodity to be exhibited and sold. Furthermore, he sees the fact that he uses temporal objects as a reflection of the ever-changing world we live in and the need to understand that nothing is eternal.
Goldsworthy is interested in the social history of the land on which he is working and that includes its human population. He feels it is important to acknowledge a site's rich history and the various connections that people have in relationship with the land. As he has said, "People also leave presence in a place even when they are no longer there."

Biography

Andy Goldsworthy Photo

Childhood

Andy Goldsworthy was born in the town of Sale in Cheshire in the north of England. While still a young child, he moved with his family to a suburb on the outskirts of Leeds. His parents, F. Allin and Muriel Goldsworthy, were strict Methodists, instilling a hard work ethic into the artist from an early age. At age 13, he began spending his weekends and summers working in nearby farms. Instead of being interested in heavy machinery like the majority of the farm workers, he preferred the meditative quality of repetitive manual tasks. Clearly some important ideas about the possibilities inherent in nature began to take shape at this time. As he remarked later: "Farming is a very sculptural profession. Building haystacks or ploughing fields, burning stubble." Additionally, Goldsworthy's father was a mathematics professor at the local university and although Andy did not share his particular talent, it is tempting to make a connection between this and the patterns and formations that he would come to find in nature.

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Andy Goldsworthy Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Andy Goldsworthy
Interactive chart with Andy Goldsworthy's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Henry MooreHenry Moore
Robert SmithsonRobert Smithson
Yves KleinYves Klein
Joseph BeuysJoseph Beuys

Personal Contacts

Richard LongRichard Long
Chris Drury

Movements

Land ArtLand Art
Environmental ArtEnvironmental Art

Influences on Artist
Andy Goldsworthy
Andy Goldsworthy
Years Worked: 1976 - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Michal Grab
Patrick Dougherty
Dietmar Voorwold
Maya LinMaya Lin

Personal Contacts

Movements

Land ArtLand Art
Environmental ArtEnvironmental Art

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Content compiled and written by Vitoria Hadba

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Vitoria Hadba
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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