The Land Art movement emerged in the 1960s and was concerned with the relationship between people and the world around them. Artists built sculptures in the landscape using raw materials: earth, stones, water, sand. These works were often fragile and could not be moved.
One of the leading exponents of Land Art is Andy Goldsworthy, an artist who came to prominence in the 1980s with a number of significant exhibitions, including one at the Natural History Museum in London and another at the Bluecoat gallery in Liverpool. Born in 1956, he grew up in Yorkshire, where his father was a professor of mathematics at Leeds University. From the age of 13 Goldsworthy worked on farms as a labourer; later he attended Bradford Art College and Preston Polytechnic, where he spent much of his time making rock sculptures on the beach at Morecambe. He began to attract attention soon after graduating, securing solo shows at the Serpentine in London, Abbot Hall in Kendal and the Ruskin Gallery in Sheffield.
His art is produced with minimal intervention in the landscape. Like the land artists of the 1960s, Goldsworthy has an intimate involvement with the earth’s own resources, using rocks, leaves, sunlight and shadows to create sculptures that exist briefly before they are altered or erased by natural processes. In 1997 he spent two years rebuilding a drystone wall he had discovered near Storm King Art Center in New York State. The wall snakes across the landscape, weaving in and out of the trees of a small wood. The writer David Bourdon wrote, ‘Goldsworthy’s ingeniously crafted work is immensely appealing to viewers because it reawakens a childlike joy in the unexpected metamorphoses of commonplace materials.’
In 1987 Goldsworthy received the Scottish Arts Council Award, and in 2000 he was awarded an OBE. A large-scale retrospective of his work was held at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2008.
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