Goldsworthy is an artist who works within and with nature. His mediums include grass, leaves, wood, sand, rock, ice, snow- really anything he finds. His tools are his hands, teeth and spit- with the occasional hammer. He explains his process as intuitive and is compelled to get to know the feel of a place before embarking on his manipulation of their natural resources.
My first introduction to his work rendered me speechless. I see Mr. Goldsworthy as a true artist in the sense that he creates beauty where it already exists- that is talent.
Because his work is so fleeting, photography plays a large role in his presentation. In his words:
Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit.
There are several books of his work. The one in my lap as I type this is called Andy Goldsworthy A Collaboration With Nature. The photographs of his genius are accompanied with short descriptions such as: Feathers plucked from a dead heron/ cut with sharp stone/ stripped down one side/ about three-and-a-half feet overall length/made over three calm days/ cold frosty mornings/ smell from heron pungent as each day warmed up (1982).
knotweed stalks/ pushed into lake bottom/ made complete by their own reflections (1988).
I just finished watching his film Rivers and Tides: Working With Time. Seeing his process really took my admiration of his work to a whole new level. The film records his process, patience and resilience. Along with his team of labourers and craftsmen he travels to remote locations to manipulate the offerings of mother earth, to create the improbable, out of the overlooked.