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Andy Goldsworthy, John wolsely and Rosalie Gascoigne Essay

The three artists that we have studied, Goldsworthy, Gascoigne and Wolseley, are all contemporary environmental artists. They all have their own unique practice and all of these artists are concerned with the environment hence all of their works are environmentally friendly. Their works all challenge the viewers imagination and are aesthetically pleasing.

John Wolseley-Practice-Wolseleys interaction with Aboriginal people has helped him to increase his knowledge of the land and increase his respect for it. Wolseley often spends long periods of time working alone and camping in rural Australia.

John Wolseley was born 1938 in England and settled in Australia in 1976. his previous work as a printer gave him the knowledge of water colour and attention to detail. He became sensitive to line work and drawing with fine detail through printing. The Chinese and their unique way of drawing also influence Wolseley. He appreciates the way a Chinese artist will study the landscape for hours before going back to draw it.

Wolseley has a unique practice for example he buries his works and digs them up weeks later to find them weathered and eroded. This method connects the work to the site and creates a bond between him, the piece and the site he is based in. another technique he uses is called frotting this is where he takes the paper and moves it against trees, rocks, etc. to create lines and marks on the page which he then works detail around.

Wolseleys work is detailed and is drawn from many different view points. He uses signs and symbols in his works that reflect geological mapping. He also includes diary entries, where he jots down notes about his journeys and incorporates them into his works.

Wolseleys works are like a journey. The final pieces will be collaged together but sometimes only by sticky tape and sometimes overlapping. The viewer must observe these works from a distance to take in the whole piece but then can come closer in a more personal level and study each page.

Wolseleys conceptual practice is very unique; he pays attention to very minor details. His works show his experience of a particular part of the land. His works main purpose is to study the relationship between man and nature. His works are a study of mans relationship to the land. Wolseley has been living like an Aboriginal person and therefore sees the world like an Aboriginal person; he detects the spirituality of the land and certain places.

Wolseley is very concerned for the environment. He pays particular attention to mining, conservation and pollution. His works show his ecological concern.

The Poets Fence-The four frames-My first impression of Wolseleys the poets fence was a sense of warmth and liking for the piece. It reminds me of a little garden, with the small shrubs and the warm red wash in the background reminds me of rocks and the sunset.

I like the subtle tones in the artwork and the detail of the plants. The work makes you feel happy and calm. It is a very serene artwork.

The hard lines in the piece are made through frotting. Frotting is a technique Wolseley uses to create more meaning in the work. This technique is done by rubbing the paper onto the remains of burnt trees and shrubs. Wolseley started off with frotting and then worked the detail in around the piece.

The colour used in the plants is very bright and lots of different shades have been used. But the background washes are very subtle more gentle colours so that they dont take the attention off the main subject.

This is a watercolour painting, frotting, and background washes are some of the processes uses. The background wash and the frottage have been done first with the detail painting over.

This work shows a contrast between man and nature. It is a work of a fence with shrubs and trees growing around it. The statement trying to be made is that man tries to control the land but the attempts always fail. Nature is much more powerful than man. The fence has corroded away while the flora around it always remains.

This work is almost a parody. It is satirising the concept of man trying to control nature. The fence is a symbol of man with nature around it. The fence is portrayed as being weak and insignificant but the plants around it are bold and over ruling. The work is trying to show how man cannot control nature no matter how many times he attempts to.

The materials and techniques used are new and unique to Wolseley frotting is not a mainstream technique and not many artists will camp out in a site to feel more connected to it like Wolseley does.

A History of Parrots, Drifting maps and warming seas-The four frames-This work reminds me of a hot summers day where the lorikeets and the rosellas are singing and all you want to do is go to the beach. The work shows a journey with the map in the background and the words displayed across the page. It makes you feel closer to nature and makes you appreciate it more.

The shape and colours of the piece are very warm and soft. The colours or the shapes used arent bold and complement each other effectively. Watercolour is the main form of material practice used. The birds look very life like and real. They stand out of the page like a 3D object rather than a 2D painting. Rosellas and lorikeets are native to Australia so the culture presented is Australian. Wolseley has adopted the beliefs of the Australian Aboriginal people therefore his works are Australian based and show the beliefs of the aboriginal people. This work has a spiritual connection to the land and celebrates its inhabitants.

This work is in the mainstream but it is still original because of Wolseleys unique practice. This piece may look like a beautiful and delicate watercolour of birds but to a fan of Wolseley who knows about his practice it says a lot. It shows a journey and an adventure of the landscape. And it accentuates the beautiful native animals of Australia.

Rosalie Gascoigne-Practice-Gascoigne arrived in Australia in 1943, the Australian outback is her main influence and like Goldsworthy and Wolseley she is also an environmentalist. Gascoigne collects weathered materials and then incorporates them into her sculptures.

The objects that she uses are always ones that she has found. She wanders around her local surroundings and collects junk. She has been called an artistic hunter and gatherer.Gascoigne preferred weathered and rustic materials because she believed they had essence of life. She based her selection of materials on the surface, shape and colour of the objects. She wouldnt alter the surface in anyway but would saw, split and fragment the materials for a more interesting composition. Gascoigne paid attention to the order and placement of her work; she especially liked to work in a grid format.

The use of various techniques such as repetition and tessellation is evident in her works. These techniques come from Gascoigne’s previous experience in the ancient Japanese art of ikebana. Ikebana is the art of flower arranging and teaches effective repetition, shape and form. From practicing ikebana I got the vision of how to use the things I liked said Gascoigne. Colours used were often subtle and nuance, for example greys, yellows and earth colours were very popular in her works.

Gascoigne’s work digs deep into the subconscious and sets of memories in the mind. Her work reminds us of previous experiences, whether these experiences are good or bad it still makes her work very emotional. Rather than copying the landscape Gascoigne uses the form, surface and composition to take you back us to experiences. Her work makes you look at the landscape in a whole new way. The use of repetition in her work is like the rhythms in nature. For example the seasons are always repeating themselves each year.

Gascoigne lives in the country side so this is what influences her the most; her work reflects the culture of country life. It shows the flow and relaxed but hard working nature of people in the country.

Gascoigne enjoys working with old materials. She loves the story that they told. She believed that the weathered materials had an interesting history. She examined the surface of materials and tried to imagine their past. The materials she used were an association to herself and gave life and meaning to her artworks.

Tiepolo parrotsThe four frames-Tiepolo parrots reminds me of an old wooden bird house or tree house. The old wooden boxes are the house and the parrots are the birds that live in the house. The boxes are weathered from the rain and wind that the bird house has endured sitting out in the elements. And the birds shelter themselves inside the house. It makes me picture an old farm in the outback where the birds always come and feed from the food that is put in the old bird house.

The Arnotts logo of the rosella is a symbol of Australian culture. This sculpture is a symbol of the Australian bush.

Gascoigne wanted to bring back memories and let the observer reminisce when seeing the artwork. The artwork almost looks like an antique and brings back a very recollective feeling.

The work is very firm and linear. It has a very natural tone and the colours used are natural and nuance. The timber stain is shades of brown and green with the warm warn out colours of the rosellas creates an antique like effect. Gascoigne has used cardboard, scrap timber, inks and metals in this work. All of the objects used in the sculpture all have their own meaning; Gascoigne collected each of them over time and believes that each object used in the sculpture has its own history that adds meaning to the piece.

The work represents Australian culture. Both urban and rural aspects of our life style. The rosella posses a dual meaning- it is symbolic of the Australian bush but then is also symbolic of the famous Australian company Arnotts.

Gascoigne’s major influence is the landscape of Australia. She uses the objects she has found and manipulates them to help communicate her message.

This work is not mainstream. It is an assemblage of found objects that to the untrained eye look like simple boxes stacked on top of each other. But to a fellow artist of art enthusiast the piece is beautiful and powerful with strong symbolism. This piece has challenged traditional art practices and what is normally classified as art.

Earth 1The four frames-First impression of Earth 1 is a feeling of peace. The warm, calm colours send calm vibes and remind me of earthy colours. It reminds me of the Australian outback. The warm colours look like the red sand and the trees and shrubs. I like the artworks simple yet effective concept.

The piece is very linear; the squares have a distinct firm black line separating each colour. The colour is very interesting in this, all the colours are earthy and natural tones, and for example there are browns, greens and some blues. The texture of the surface of the shapes is interesting as it shows the materials used are old, the surface shows marks and dents. Materials that are used are old and weathered objects such as wood, metal and plastic. There symbolic value is their history. The artist chose them because of their history and the story that each material tells.

The piece shows Australian culture. It shows the lifestyle and the environment of Australia. It is a display of outback Australia and how it is simple yet beautiful. The piece is a recreation of the country side colours and tones. It is laidback and simple like the Australian lifestyle.

This piece is out side the mainstream in the materials that have been used- not many artists collect old weathered materials and then incorporate them into their works. But it is inside the mainstream with the conventional composition. This composition is not original but the materials used and Gascoignes practice make the work original. It is based on the Australian culture- it shows the simple laidback lifestyle of Australians with the simple composition and it shows the earthy and natural side of Australian culture with its colours and materials.

Andy Goldsworthy-Practice-Andy Goldsworthy is a land artist; he was born in Cheshire, England, in 1956 and studied at Bradford College of art, and Preston Polytechnic. He grew up working on farms where he gained his knowledge, love and understanding for the land. Nature is his canvas and his purpose. Goldsworthy is an environmental sculptor, his work is transient and the materials he uses are ephemeral.

Goldsworthys sculptures comment on the creation, destruction and renewal process. Goldsworthy welcomes this cycle of destruction. Goldsworthys work consists of found objects, all of the materials used are natural and site specific. The materials are ephemeral and the works rely on the element of chance in the process of construction and destruction.

The only materials that he uses are compatible and none threatening to the area which the work is set. Simple construction methods are used, like pinning objects together with thorns or stitching together with vines. The materials are carefully selected so that they will be broken down by the elements of nature over time.

Before Goldsworthy starts his work he studies the area closely, he watches for patterns in the weather, light, wind, water etc. he then carefully picks his time which he will work. He sketches before he works and then collects the materials to be used. The materials are only gathered from the area which his artwork is to be constructed in.

Goldsworthy documents each step in the process of creation and destruction of his works. Each step- from the very first process in the evolution of his sculpture right through to the final product and then again he documents while it is destroyed by nature.

Goldsworthy documents this process via high quality photographs and on film. In some cases his work is not actually contained within nature but then placed as an installation in a gallery where the public can directly view the piece. Photographing his artwork creates an indirect connection with the audience. But with many of the secluded and remote places Goldsworthy constructs his artworks; photography is the only means of proof of his works.

Ice-The four frames-First impression of the sculpture was of how beautiful it was. I was amazed at how someone could create something like that. It would have taken a lot of patience and endurance to create it.

The sculpture really makes the onlooker gasp and hold their breath. It is a very evocative work and reminds you of a snake or a river. It mimics the winding and twisting of a river gushing into the ocean. The sculpture is so beautiful and inspiring. It encourages people to go out and make their own land art. It reminds me of a river as it depicts the motion and energy of a river as it juts in and out of the rockGoldsworthys work is part of a movement called contemporary environmental art. This movement is daring and consists of works from nature. Most of the works make a statement about nature and mans involvement with nature.

The work is simply made out of ice. The ice has bitten down to size and them simply dipped in water and fused together. Goldsworthy completed this work in freezing conditions, before dawn and with his bare fingers.

The sculpture has a lot of symbolic value. It represents a concern for the environment, as do most of Goldsworthy’s works.

The sculpture was created in 2000-2001. It was made to melt. Goldsworthy constructed this sculpture from ice- obviously he knew it was doomed to melt. Goldsworthy believes that the thing that brings an artwork to life is the thing that will cause its death.

The work is a statement about man and nature. It shows people how beautiful the simplest things can be, like ice in this case. Goldsworthy’s background as an environmentalist has influenced him to make this work out of nature and situate it in nature. He is not interfering or damaging the environment in anyway.

This work is a key example to showing Goldsworthys concept of the creation, destruction and renewal process. This work was made to be destroyed. Goldsworthy let the elements of nature take it back to its natural form. The work expresses the idea that man should appreciate nature more.

The artwork challenges the mainstream because it is a completely original idea and is unlike any thing that has ever been created before. The dominant interpretation of the artwork is the idea of time- the creation, renewal and destruction cycle. The artwork raises the question why Goldsworthy would make such a beautiful pain staking work for it to just melt away a few hours later. After this question is asked the answer soon becomes clear.

Red pool-The four frames-Red Pool by Goldsworthy is an evocative piece that at first glance looks like a pool of blood. It is scary and dramatic. Evoking the viewer to look further into the photograph and try to work out what is in the rock because of course it is not blood. The artwork creates an eerie feeling in the viewer and reminds you of blood. I feel that the message Goldsworthy is trying to send to the public with this artwork is that nature is dying. The rock looks like it is bleeding. It looks like we are hurting and killing nature. We should stop before it is too late.

The actual artwork has corroded away now. But the photograph of it is now the artwork. It was created by adding pigment to the water from the sandstone.

The sandstone is red and coloured the water with a very bright tone. The red water is very eye catching and is a delicate contrast between the red and the browns and greens of the forest behind it. Just like all other works from Goldsworthy this work is site specific and does not damage the environment in anyway.

The artwork was made in 1994/1995. It is situated at the Scaur River, Dumfriesshire, where Goldsworthy lives. The purpose of the artwork is to show that nature is alive. Most living things have blood and even though nature doesnt actually bleed it is still living. This work reminds us of this. The main attitude of the work is that nature is a living thing and we should stop destroying it before it is too late.

The artwork completely challenges the main stream because no one has ever come up with something so bold before. The dominant interpretation of the work is that nature is precious, just like a person or an animal nature is precious and vital to our survival. We should stop demolishing now.

bibliography-notes from teacher and attending a seminar at the national nsw art gallery


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