An Artist's Quest

Worthy of Andy (Goldsworthy that is)

I spent a morning with my family gathering rocks of red and white for no other purpose than to line them up in a serpentine procession into the chilly March waters of East Austin Creek. My son gathered rocks for awhile until a boulder called him to lay down,which was fine this was my quest today, I set the stones in line and my husband, whose skill at balancing rocks is phenomenal, made the finishing stack at the spiral’s center, and so we paid homage to the day, and the rocks, the water and the wind of that early spring morning, with a nod to Andy (Goldsworthy of course).

I hope you had the chance to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself to Andy Goldsworthy’s work this week if not check out the links from Mondays post.  I myself spent some quality time on the couch with several of his books; we are lucky to have Stone, Wood and Time. All three are gorgeous coffee table books with wonderful photos and personal reflections on his work.  One of the things that he talks of often is being grounded in a place, he says, “I have worked with some materials and places many times over.  Each time different… each new sculpture is a result of knowledge accumulated through past experience.  Each work joins the next in a line that defines the passage of my life, the momentum of which gives me a strong sense of anticipation for the future.”  What it seems to me he is saying is that life is built day upon day of the most intimate contact with our surroundings, the stitching of leaf to leaf, the stacking of stone upon stone to heap day upon day of with cherished, reverent, inspired scrutiny.  Some of Andy Goldsworthy’s simplest pieces are also the most provocative to me. In his book Time many of his pieces play with the idea of marking time’s movement, to show the fleeting, flash of it’s passing. In some of these temporal pieces he has lain down on the ground (whether face up or face down I do not know) right before it begins to rain, he lays there until the road, or dirt or grass is wet all around him then stands up and there is a dry shadow of him left behind, it will only last moments, it will only wait until the rain darkens the spot or the sun brightens its surround, fleeting and wonderful.  He also has some pieces where he has spent hours at rivers edged grinding red stones to a powdery paste. He then tosses his efforts into the waters flow to photograph the red terrestrial stain made in the crystal stream.  These transitory pieces as much as the awe stirring stone structures of his more solid work invite me to pause, witness and reflect on the marvel of this passing moment.  It makes me want stop and heft each stone I pass to check for balance and stack-ability, to fondle each blade of grass and nimble branch and ponder its braid-ability, to lick my finger and check the wind, to scrutinize the clouds and then, why not, just lay down (face up or face down you choose) and hope for rain?

This is a close up of the spiral.  We were thrilled and amazed to find it still standing in the morning after a stormy night.

Subscriber Doug Wade sent in his man sized rock stack. Thanks Doug

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3 responses

  1. really loved this installation/sculpture! i really love A.G’s works and to me too,some of the simplest things are most inspiring!
    loved the post!

    March 11, 2011 at 9:05 am

    • thanks for the kind word, so let’s all get out there and stack some rocks! Lisa

      March 11, 2011 at 9:09 am

  2. Andy Goldsworthy is one of my alltime favorite artists and I am always inspired by how he works. You all must have had fun making your rock spiral — and what a wonderful surprise gift for anyone who stumbles across it!

    March 12, 2011 at 9:57 am

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