Finding now: Stones, rivers, and Andy Goldsworthy's art

I find now, when I toss a stone into a river, witnessing the splash. I also find now, seeing the stone rivers created by artist Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy collaborates with nature to create art. Using natural materials, he assembles works that are less, and more, impermanent. Thus, his art pieces draw one’s attention to the present moment – and also to its passing.

Goldsworthy designs stone walls that curve like rivers, and he fits together branches in flowing water. He brings about a new form with an old tree, one long rooted in a familiar site, and he builds with snow that soon will melt. Seeing his work encourages one to experience the moment, and also to ponder what is momentary. For me, it has been momentous.

If nature calls to you – with rocks and rivers, or perhaps by sky, tree, or wind – consider taking a journey of time, place and presence, via Goldsworthy’s art, available in the following library items.

To begin – a fascinating film: Rivers and Tides: Working with Time (DVD). A good way to discover Goldsworthy’s art is by watching this 2004 documentary that follows Goldsworthy as he puts together numerous works. This film shows the artist’s process, and it also shows time’s process, recording some of the works coming apart. It’s a lovely account of an artist’s creative life, and of the life of his creations.

To explore – several picturesque volumes:​

A Collaboration with Nature, 1990
Wood, 1996
Wall: at Storm King, 2000
Passage, 2004

These art books provide an extensive array of photographs documenting Goldsworthy’s work, offering readers the chance to delve into its compelling beauty in different times and places.

To reflect – an in-depth study: The Andy Goldsworthy Project, by Molly Donovan and Tina Fiske, 2010. This scholarly volume documents and analyzes Goldsworthy’s work, and will assist anyone seeking to ponder further what he creates. It specifically places his sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington within a tradition of sculptures, and it also supplies an illustrated catalogue of Goldsworthy’s commissioned installations dating from 1984 to 2008.

After tossing a stone into water, I watch the ripples expanding. When I witness artwork by Andy Goldsworthy, my awareness expands, and I can sink peacefully into my connection with nature.


Elsa: Goldsworthy's methods with photos would probably interest you. He takes one photo of every piece of art, as he finishes assembling it -- and sometimes that image is the only part that 'lasts,' as the work comes apart, with time. Thanks, Laura

Wow, what a great breakdown of the work of Andy Goldsworthy. I just watched River and Tides because his next documentary, Leaning into the Wind is about to come out. I did not know anything about him, but his use of nature and time is mesmerizing. Just knowing of his work makes you look at the great outdoors from a different perspective. Thanks Laura, I just put most of these books on hold!

Jon -- What a wonderful suprise, to receive your comments here. I really liked that DVD. You say it well -- it makes you look at the outdoors from a different perspective. :), Laura