More about Environmental Sculpture
What is Environmental Art?
Environmental art has many definitions depending on who you ask. My own personal guidelines are these:
1) The work arises out of a direct experience with Nature in some way. It may be a love for a particular location, a discovery of an abundance of materials with which to work, or the knowledge that a special celestial event will occur that I hope to capture in some way with a work. Each piece has its own story to tell.
2) The work is made primarily with natural materials (with some small exceptions such as needle and thread or tiny bits of wire) and minimal hand-tools.
3) The work is ephemeral and often the photograph is all that remains of the piece, thus the photograph becomes both a record of the work and also a new extension of the work.
4) no extensive Photoshop “tricks” are to be used to make a sculpture more than it was in real life. That said, images are processed for optimum exposure, color and composition. Small edits can and will be made if they enhance the experience of the image. I allow this because our own eyes can edit, render and compose any visual image to our own liking without the use of software and without us even realizing we do this. Therefore, for me these digital tools are merely and extension of my own artist’s eye.
For those people who may feel that environmental/land artists like myself are merely copying other land artists who have come before I would say this: of course you are entitled to your opinion, however each person who piles up pinecones in a forest or seashells on the beach is expressing a primal desire which is enshrined in the human experience: humans want to make beauty with nature. We have been doing this since we started applying ground stones and berries to cave walls. Certainly some artists are more gifted than others and some artists have had enormous commercial success with their work…which they deserve for all their cold, early mornings and frozen fingers when the rest of the world is snug and warm.
But just because one land artist’s piece may remind you of another artist’s work, be assured, none of this is meant to be “copying”. It could never be actually because no two stones nor sticks are the same, therefore each artist has their own relationship to the environment and the materials that landscape presents…and we each have our own way of working with those materials that is a discovery process of its own.
Do we criticize the work of any great oil painting master saying they are just copying a master who came before them? Well, some people do…but thankfully they are in the minority. Every artist has their own struggle to find their own voice, their own methods and techniques. It is no different for land artists. We play off one another like sunlight plays off the ripples in a river…no two ripple are ever the same for the river, the earth and the sun itself are always in an invisible flow, and we are just caught, for a moment in the sunlight with our work taking up a moment in time…and then we move on, separate from but connected to all the other humans who ever piled stones on top of each other or laid leaves in a spiraled line. We are all connected and no single artist can claim to “own” this medium and more than Michelangelo “owned” fresco painting or marble sculpture.
As for my own work, here in these galleries of my Environmental sculptures, I’ve arranged the images in 3 different groups: “Small Works” are those which are approximately the size of a basketball or smaller – easily held in one hand. “Larger Works” are those too large to comfortably hold in one hand, if that is even possible in some cases. “Spirals” are different. These are both large and small works which are all based on the basic geometric form of a spiral. You will notice that some crossovers occur as some of my pieces may use a spiral motif but may not entirely focus on the shape of the spiral itself to tell the story of the work as it sits in the landscape. You may also notice that the same spiral may appear in a few different locations. This happens because the piece is moveable and I enjoy seeing how it may look in different settings. I hope you do too.
As with the Faerie houses, any of these images can be yours to have in your own home/office or to give as a gift. Just click on the green button next to the image you want to get started. Check out the CUSTOM PRINTS section of my SHOP to learn more. Also, if Spirals are your “thing”, I do have a book that features just these sculpture designs which you can find in my BOOKS section. Additionally, every year I try to create 2 new Environmental Art calendars, one for regular sculptures and one using just the spiral images as people do seem to like this geometric form. Look on the lower half of my CALENDARS page to see this year’s offerings. Next year’s calendars usually appear in the early winter for holiday buying.
More images will be added to all of these galleries as time allows.