Andy Goldsworthy, born in 1956 in Cheshire, actually grew up in Yorkshire, and studied at both Bradford College and Preston Polytechnic . Having left college, he lived in several English Northern counties until moving up to Scotland in 1985. He has always worked has in the open air, from the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District to Grize Fiord in the Northern Territories of Canada, Australia, the North Pole, the USA, Japan, and Scotland.
All materials that he uses in the creation of his stunning artworks are things he finds to hand in every location he visits, reeds, thorns, twigs, leaves, stones, as well as snow and ice. Most of his artworks are very temporary works but in their short life, give an impression of his extraordinary sense of place and play. Every individual artwork is recorded as a photograph, all of which can be soon in one of several published books.
These form a very important part of Andy’s work, as they allow the onlooker to view all production aspects of any given work, making each book a work of art in its own right. This incredibly talented British artist collaborates closely with nature to create his wonderful works. Andy says that his real goal is to understand nature more intimately by working as closely with her as he can.
“Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather.”
“Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature. The underlying tension of a lot of my art is to try and look through the surface appearance of things. Inevitably, one way of getting beneath the surface is to introduce a hole, a window into what lies below.”
Some of his installation art is on a larger scale, featuring dry stone walling, and stone sculptures, for there is no naturally occurring substance that Andy will not use in trying to convey his artistic message of respect for the natural world. He seems to enjoy the freedom of just using his hands, and tools that he sees around him, such as sharp stones, quills of feathers, etc. He takes each day as it comes.
When snow covers the ground, he works with it, while in Autumn it will be with leaves. Fallen trees provide twigs and branches. He stops at a place because he feels the thrill of imminent discovery. Looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable aspects of the resulting work, and he finds difficulty in saying where one stops and another begins.
What Andy really seeks is for the onlooker to see what lies beneath each distinct creation, to the underlying wonder of the natural world. His compelling works, all superb attributes to the beauty that is inherent in every part of nature, are mute testaments to the glory of environmentalism. This magical artist deserves far more recognition, for he truly is a genius of environmental works of art. Brilliant.