Saturday, January 09, 2010

Nature -> Art <- Gardens

Land art. Sounds a bit industrial. Indeed, it can be - if you search the internet for land art, it covers landscaping on a massive scale, through sculpting gardens, right down to works of art made out of a few fallen leaves.

On the large scale, you have something like the Effigy Tumuli by Michael Heizer. The pond skater is perhaps the easiest thing to see in Google Maps. Great big pieces of art made out of the landscape.

You can't get much more massive as a work of art than an extinct volcano. The Roden Crater is a work of art in progress. It has been in progress since the later 1970s. It will allegedly be completed in 2011. It is not yet open to the public, but some people have been lucky enough to see inside this huge piece of land art.

Very few of us happen to own an extinct volcano. So, some more realistic examples of land art might give us ideas of how it can be adapted to a (slightly) smaller stage. Charles Jenks has produced a host of landscapes based on forming the land into art. His own Garden of Cosmic Speculation is something I would like to see, but it is rarely open, and so I will have to make do with photographs, and this review on ThinkinGardens.

On a smaller scale again, Tony Smith's Quilted Velvet garden at Tatton Park gives an idea of what can be done in a garden. Land-forming but in a more realistic way.

It might make mowing the lawn a little difficult, but it adds shape to the garden and would look fantastic with the covering of snow we have at the moment.

Another form of land art is that practiced by the likes of Andy Goldsworthy. These land artworks can be permanent or ephemeral, but are born of their environment and enhance that environment.
Another brilliant example of a land artist I came across on the internet last night is Richard Shilling. He has recently been busy in the snow. His works filled me with so much enthusiasm that I thought I would go out into the garden to make my own ephemeral art in the snow today, but I discovered that there really is such a thing as the wrong sort of snow. It wouldn't hold together at all - I couldn't even make a snowball! Secretly, I am rather glad, as I don't think my efforts and imagination would ever compare with his.
However, I'm up for a challenge and in 2010 I think I will have a go at creating some land art. SomeBeans need not worry - I won't be hiring a digger to re-contour the garden, but one or two attempts at ephemeral art may be forthcoming. Just wish I had the right sort of snow.


easygardener said...

Land art is interesting and can be very attractive if it interacts well with the surroundings. For my own garden I would prefer the permanent - imagine all that effort only to watch it melt/wither/blow away. It's sad enough looking at a carrot when it's all that's left of a snowman!

VP said...

I'm a huge fan of Andy Goldsworthy's work.

I had a lot of fun having a go in the Lake District when I attended a course on environmental education, so I encourage you to get stuck once the snow's gone!

chaiselongue said...

I'm looking forward to your land art project. If you photograph it for the blog will it still be ephemeral, I wonder? Maybe the wrong sort of snow can be used in another way, where it doesn't have to stick together ... patterns, ice ... easy for me to say this as we haven't got any snow here!

Joanne said...

I think the snow and sky has had it's own natural ephemeral art over these last few days although I hate it because it is so slippy and I fell and cracked my head I still have to walk the dog and can't resist taking the camera.

I look forward to seeing your new creations.

Rothschild Orchid said...

Oooh really interesting topic. I'm an earthworks kind of girl me :-D

Landscape art? Hmmmm dare I whisper Silbury Hill?

I've always been fascinated by Robert Smithson's work too (especially the Sun Tunnels and Spiral Jetty). Rather interesting chap.

RO :o)

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I am also a big fan of Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Shilling.

I am SO disappointed that you had the wrong sort of snow for your land art, very frustrating when you dont have the right kind of tools for making art ;)

Land art ... definitely food for thought

Plant Mad Nige said...

Wow! What a thought-provoking post. I think Andy Goldsworthy and Charles Jenks are geniuses and thanks for the intro to Richard Shilling whose work also looks fascinating.

You can use any substrate for creating art, of course, from crumpled paper to huge chunks of the planet, but I have a big problem with this whenever i try to introduce bold, manmade art into my own back garden.

You see, I decided, when I made my garden, to minimise artificial intrusion and to make it all as natural as possible. Thus, it's difficult to think of including structures which make strong artificial statments. They'd be too 'in my face' and too arrogant.

I'm fascinated by art, and spend far too long gawping at it, but I have an awful time, trying to make it fit into my little personal Eden.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I love looking at work by the likes of Charles Jenks but woudn't dream of having anything like it at home. Does that make me a Philistine? I suppose it does. Ah me!
Sorry to ramble so - thanks again for a brilliant post.

HappyMouffetard said...

EG - yes, I can understand the attraction of the permanent, but with the ephemeral, things are easy to change on a whim. Not that change is always a good thing.

VP - oooh, your course sounds good!

Chaiselongue - oooh, that's a bit of a philosophical conundrum p the ephemeral becoming the permanent through photography. Someone could get a PhD out of that.

Joanne, yes, nature often does it better. Hope you're feeling Ok after your fall.

RO - Silbury Hill, now that's an interesting piece of land art. Perhaps they just wanted a bit of contemporary garden art.

Karen - if it had been the right sort of snow, I would have disappointed everyone with my efforts. At least I can dream that I *could* have produced a work of art ;-)

Nigel - Thanks for the comment. In theory I would love to have some sort of permanent land art structure in a garden of mine. In reality, I'd never have the space or surroundings to give it the environment it would need. So I'll have a play with snow and leaves and just wish I had the imagination of the Andy Goldsworthys and Richard Shillings of this world.

Edith Hope said...

I am new to blogging and have fallen across your site - such a joyful experience. I love your winter pictures.

welded wire mesh said...

WOW! It looks like a giant daisy in the field!

transporte de carro said...

Nature arts are really lovely. It is good to have many of these things..say another one using another flower of different colour. Really lovely.