Monday, November 7, 2011

"Rivers and Tides"

 Patrick Dougherty

How do I describe what I feel when seeing art that is not meant to last?  How does the artist feel to create something knowing that its lifespan might be very short -- that it might last for a year or literally a few minutes?  It seems to me to be the very absence of ego and it also pulls me in, with its ethereal quality, in ways that a painting or a sculpture might never do.

Andy Goldsworthy
I'm speaking of the ephemeral natural art created by artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Patrick Dougherty.  These pieces are created from natural objects and then left in site. It is the whim of nature - rain, wind, snow, sun  and water that determines how long they will last. 

Andy Goldsworthy
During the time of duration this art will change shape, but not as the artist planned but by how each piece reacts to the climate and weather to which it is subjected.

Andy Goldsworthy

Sadly, this type of art only lasts a short while, all that will be left are photographs of these lovely natural sculptures.  I stand awestruck by those artists who work with this concept.  To look at a piece of art that I know will never be quite the same, even if I came back to look at it each day, is to know an artist who creates for the shear joy of creating.

[Note: there is the most wonderful DVD of Andy Goldworthy's work called "Rivers and Tides" - just in case you want to be totally awed!]

"At its most successful, my 'touch' looks into the heart of nature; most days I don't even get close.  These things are all part of a transient process that I cannot understand unless my touch is also transient - only in this way can the cycle remain unbroken and the process be complete." - Andy Goldsworthy


  1. This is a thought provoking post/quote.
    This art is certainly created with the "absense of ego" and created with the shear delight of creating. And what thoughts of the artist who does not feel the need to nurture and preserve his work.

    I love this concept.

  2. What stunning work - I've just read Karen's post over at Stitching Life as well; I wish all of my Mondays were this thought provoking! Oh, and thanks for your comment on my blog - while I intend to make some cuff bracelets one day, that one was a coffee cozy - isn't it great, to see how things can be perceived so differently?

  3. Great minds think alike! Yes, I think that's a good point about ego. Impermanent work like this I think is more about the art itself, and not so much about the artist. And very refreshing, I might add. How nice to think we were thinking along similar lines today :-)

  4. It's an interesting idea, isn't it, that the whole attitude to making something has to change when you think about making something that is not made to last...

  5. I agree, I love art like this-let nature have its way with it. These are really amazing pieces,too.

  6. I love the circular flow of these works of art. Carol's comment about it being a thought-provoking post is certainly true, just like all of your posts, Penny. You always touch emotions. :)



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