Land art, an important branch of Earth art, is one of the predilection fields of Stacy Levy and Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist, whereas Levy is a sculptor working on ecological natural patterns and processes. They are two artists whose bodies of work are full of arrangement and placement works as well as natural involvement. Perfectly illustrating those characteristics, the art installation Riverine (Ikura) and the photograph 1981_023, respectively realized by Stacy Levy and Andy Goldsworthy, present some comparable elements.
Indeed, they both reflect a juxtaposition between humans and nature by representing a clear external modification of a natural environment by humans; however, some divergences can be pointed out as well. The main one is the fact that Goldsworthy focused more on humans’ control on nature whereas Stacy Levy emphasized the nature’s dominance. Riverine (Ikura) is a short term art installation in nature realized on a floodplain by the artist Stacy Levy. This piece of art is comprised of 600 18-foot-tall bamboo stems and pink and red small plastic balls.Order now
The bamboo stems are brown and planted in the ground. Mounted on their top are one, two or three pink plastic balls, giving an illusion of tall grasses with ball-shaped pink blooms. As the wind blows and the birds fly, the “flowers” follow the choreography, juxtaposing land and water. However, an installation in nature is supposed to blend into its environment, especially when the artist is Stacy Levy, whose prior works are mostly green and respectful toward nature.
Therefore, Riverine contradicts that with the use of plastic balls indicating humans’ presence in nature. Goldsworthy’1981_023 however, is a piece of art that was completed and recorded on December 22, 1980 by the artist Andy Goldsworthy. It’s a photograph picturing someone hitting water with a stick and creating a rainbow. More precisely, the photograph shows the water drops resulting from the splash, following the rainbow’s path. Approximately 8 feet away, on the riverbank, is a man.
He is standing, wearing a brown jacket, a blue jean and black boots and holding the stick over his left shoulder toward his back. He is turned left and is looking at the rainbow he just created by hitting the water’s surface. However, the first downside of this piece of art would be its medium. Indeed, a photograph is a really limited way of experiencing any kind of Earth art. Several differences exist between those two pieces of art. First, on the physical aspect, Riverine is a 3D work, while 1980_023 is a photograph.
Second, Riverine depicts a kind of domination of the natural world over humans since the 18-foot-tall bamboos are huge even compared to the very tall viewers. I believe that specific scale is a well-chosen effect done on purpose by Levy so as to communicate a feeling of smallness to viewers; a domination of nature. By contrast, 1980_023 depicts humans’ control over their environment since the photograph pictures a man altering his natural surroundings.
In fact, holding that stick over is shoulders as if he was about to hit the water over and over create a great picture depicting some kind of power. Nevertheless, Riverine and 1980_023 also share one common and huge similarity; they both depict some kind of art in nature and hide one meaning relative to it. Indeed, as an installation in nature composed of manufactured elements (plastic balls), Riverine creates a juxtaposition and a relation between humans and nature, and so does 1980_023, which represents a man interacting directly with his environment.
In the context of Earth art, Riverine can be considered Earth art regarding the fact that it is a 3-dimensional, large-scale and site-specific work designed to transform the perception of a natural environment (a floodplain). Also, 1981_023 can be considered Earth art since it clearly portrays someone altering his natural environment to create an aesthetic piece of art. However, since the modification on the environment is very slight, very ephemeral and is realized on a very small scale, 1981_023 is not a piece Earth art as powerful as Riverine, which create some great physical interaction that cannot be achieved through a photograph.
Overall, Riverine and 1981_023 are two brilliant pieces of art both using metaphoric content and forms to highlight some harmonious interaction between humans and nature. Respectively, post-modern and modern artworks, they are as relevant as all the installations and photographs existing today since they both convey some great profound meaning beyond their aesthetic appearance and forms. More explicitly, Stacy Levy’s 3D work portrays a pleasant large-scale modification of an environment, showing an interaction between humans and nature highlighted by nature’s dominance.
However, Andy Goldsworthy’s work pictures a really slight and even insignificant modification of a charming environment by a man, reflecting the artist’s desire to create art without making his own mark. Consequently, he promotes the purity and the protection of nature. That being said, my overall preference doesn’t specifically lean toward any of those two works; instead, I believe those works will create a stronger effect if constantly juxtaposed. According to me, Levy and Goldsworthy are two very different artists seeing the world through the same eyes.
Reflection When writing this review, I went through a specific process, using some skills I had to build up. Indeed, my first step was researching; I had to look up for a lot of information about the two artists, their bodies of work and specifically about the two pieces of art I was reviewing. The second phase of my writing process was planning; it helped me come up with the steps I wanted to follow, in order to write my review. Those steps were describing, finding the hidden thoughts and highlighting the positive and negative aspects in a comparative way.
Next I went through observation and brainstorming, whose purpose was to help me come up with all the new ideas and perspectives required for any type of writing. Afterwards, I prepared, drafted my review and had it checked by two of my classmates; that collaboration was very helpful for me since I got constructive feedbacks from two different angles. Finally, I just had to incorporate those feedbacks and rewrite my review. In view of this long process, I have used three major skills from the student learning outcomes.
The first one is the grammar usage (D); more explicitly, I had to improve my English writing at the level of sentences by identifying independent and dependent clauses and connecting them in the most appropriate ways. Second, I also considered the rhetorical situation (A) . Since I was writing a review, knowing that the purpose was to present, criticize or praise the artworks made my writing really appropriate. Also knowing what the angle is made me find good perspectives to approach each artwork; therefore, my writing was made more pertinent.
Third, I had to build up my research skills (G), by checking out the artists’ websites, finding elements of their body of art and some statements from them very essential to choose unique perspectives. After completing this formal writing, I feel that it is really important to know how to write a review. Actually, reviewing in general is something that we often do in a certain way; it can be while choosing a new car or criticizing friend’s shoes.
Therefore knowing how to write a review really improves our communication skills and makes us feel more comfortable when it comes to recommending something to someone. In my particular case, I think the skills are used are going to be helpful in my time at UNM. Indeed, researching is really a must when writing in general, especially when it is a research paper. Also, knowing the rhetorical situation will always help me when writing, because I will be able to make my writings a lot more pertinent and appropriate for the topic and for the type of essay I am writing.