I have no trouble believing that January 2014 was the coldest weather Nashville had seen in over ten years. Between our enormous electric bill, and my daily game of figuring out just how many layers I could put on, I am glad that January is behind us. Hopefully, February will not prove to be quite so record-breaking. That said, a small part of me wishes that Nashville had been rewarded for its frozen pipes and frozen fingers with a winter wonderland to go with the winter temperatures. A few more flurries, and who knows, maybe our beautiful city would have been graced with snow and ice art like that of Andy Goldsworthy’s inspirational work.
British artist Andy Goldsworthy is known for creating outdoor installations from all sorts of natural materials – leaves, stones, pinecones, twigs – all over the world. When the air turns cold, Goldsworthy turns to nature’s frozen elements, crafting sculptures out of ice and snow. Given that these pieces quickly disappear, Goldsworthy photographs the landscape before his work has begun, during its creation, and after its completion, ensuring the sculpture will last forever, at least in a two-dimensional form. Using only found materials and tools, including saliva as in the case of Icicle Star (pictured bottom right), his work replicates, manipulates, and augments the landscape into ephemeral works of art. The resulting sculptures change our perspective on the natural world by asking us to view its limits, and its potential in an entirely new way.
As we head into this next month of winter, if snow or ice should come to Nashville, perhaps the work of Goldsworthy will inspire some of us to play with, not just endure, the elements.
To learn more about Goldsworthy’s work, check out the award-winning documentary directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer entitled Rivers and Tides.