By Sarah Jost
I first learned of British artist Andy Goldsworthy a few weeks ago when a WWOOF host introduced me to his book Time, a compilation of Goldsworthy’s works that employ time as a medium. The stunning book combines full page photography with descriptions from Goldsworthy detailing his process. A sculptor and photographer, Goldsworthy not only works with nature, but in nature. The first image that really struck me was that of a ‘rain shadow.’ In order to capture this phenomenon, Goldsworthy had to position himself on the ground before the rain began, remain lying there throughout the storm, and then take a photograph of the ‘shadow’ created by his body. He describes this time spent in the elements as integral to his artistic process and experience.
In addition to rain shadows, Goldsworthy also depicts frost shadows of both human and other forms and sculptures of rocks and leaves arranged to change with tides. All of Goldsworthy’s works are created in nature and are thus susceptible to its forces, which Goldsworthy captures with successive photographs.
While some of Goldsworthy’s works inevitably succumb to changing tides, winds, sun, and precipitation, others have been built to last and serve as powerful permanent installations in both cities and countrysides worldwide.
Goldsworthy’s pieces are not only aesthetically beautiful, but stand out for their ability to portray common natural elements in new lights. Because his works are completed and photographed in nature, it can at first be jarring to see a familiar sight with something amiss, even if it is beautiful. Yet Goldsworthy seems to have an utmost respect for nature both in itself and as the medium through which he conducts his art, and thus all of his pieces blend seamlessly into their environment, without the use of anything artificial or detrimental to the area.