Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happiness is...environmental art.

I wish I had artistic ability.  Sometimes I like to pretend I do but really it's more of a talent for mimicry than anything else.  I am not very creative, but I'm appreciative. I can spend hours wandering through museums or galleries marveling at everyone else's talent to think and create.

I also love nature. You've already had to endure my waxing rhapsodic over the colors and sights and sounds of gardens and mountains and whatever else happens to be floating my boat at the moment so I won't make you go there again. But I want to sing the praises of a few artists who use the best pieces of nature to create pieces of art. (This is by no means an art lesson, merely my own ramblings so forgive me if my terminology or anything else is off.)

My current obsession is environmental art. To me, an environmental artist views nature as a palette of possibilities. They take the picture that the rest of us see, shatter it to pieces and then put it back together mosaic-like, creating something wholly new and yet familiar and recognizable in its strangeness. Sometimes the piece is removable and separate from the world around it, something that becomes its own individual creation to be enjoyed of its own accord.  But more often it is left where it began to return back from whence it came with only a photograph to remember what it was, its other life lived for a short time.

Here are a few of my favorite artists right now.  All of the images are from their websites unless otherwise noted below.

Andy Goldsworthy was my first introduction to the genre. He has an installation at the National Gallery here in DC that's rather impressive but I find some of his other pieces far more breathtaking.

Rowan Leaves and Hole 
Pebbles Broken and Scraped
(images found at the morning-earth website, here)

Then there's Jim Denevan. His pieces are larger and even less permanent, often brushed onto dirt and sand like this...

There's just something haunting and otherworldly about these creations. Crop circles anyone? Love them!

Stuart Ian Frost tends to follow somewhat in Goldsworthy's footsteps. I see a lot of similarities in their styles and materials though Frost's don't seem to stay in their natural habitats. Instead he pulls out of nature  items to create very geometric sculptures.  This one is made from seagull feathers.

Another artist is  Strijdom van der Merwe.  I'm not as familiar with his works but again there are familiar tendencies and flavors here reminiscent of the others. He is also more what I would qualify as a 'modern artist' meaning that rather than just geometric shapes or designs there are abstract forms and images that I feel should represent something that I just don't understand. These are probably my least favorite and yet some of his pieces are enchanting in their own right. (I can't find any linkable/borrowable images to post but take a few minutes to check out his gallery on the website. I love the rocks stuck on toothpicks floating over the water...yeah, not technical at all but that's what it looks like!)

I love that so many of them look as if they are something you might happen upon in your own travels if you were lucky enough, quick enough, special enough to be in the right place at the right time. There's a touch of magic and sorcery to them, as if elves or fairies or woodland creatures have been at play. Just for the moment you can believe that maybe it all happened naturally and absolutely anything is possible.

Do you have a favorite artist or medium? Are you more partial to abstract or realistic images? Paintings or sculptures? Modern or classic? Do you have artistic skills or inclinations of your own? I'd love to hear about them!

No comments:

Post a Comment