The Mud Man sculpture which is located in the Lost Gardens of Heligan, in Cornwall, England is a man-made form of earthworks. It was created by Joseph Beuys out of a mound of mud, a variety of plants, eyes made of ceramic, and carved stone ears. I love this sculpture. The large nose and ears in proportion to the eyes, with the contrast in color and plant height in the bushy hair reminds me of a troll. The intense detail gives it a 3-dimensional, textured look, making it look like a real sculpture covered by moss and plants.
The variations of green plants help define the details in the face adding the right amount of orange flowers in the hair to separate the areas and give it a pop of color. Robert Smithson’s, Spiral Jetty is a spectacular example of an earthworks art form. He sculpted the 1,500 foot landscape on a point at the Great Salt Lake, America’s Dead Sea. It was created from water, rocks, mud, and salt crystals in a symbolic spiral design. This creation is extremely interesting to me. I am not sure how he was able to create this work of art on such a large scale and in the Lake at that.
It truly does show direction and motion as the spirals lead ones’ eyes to the center point. The contrast of colors within the spiral going from the light tan and brown sand, then fading into a greenish brown and blue waters shows dimension within the landscape, showing that the center point is higher than the rest giving it great value. The white salt crystal edges define the lines around the spiral walls making it stand out. This earthworks sculpture is continuously changing in shape and color as the lake waters rise and fall as if it were alive!
The Storm King Art Center in New York is home to a work of art called Two Oak Stacks created by Andy Goldsworthy. This Earth Art is sculpted together by oak sticks, stacked and intertwined together creating large balls. It is almost like a puzzle, making sure all the pieces are in just the right spot to form a unique pattern. The combination of various shapes and sizes of oak branches show harmony and unity within the art. The natural wood colors and textures give it a real earthy, natural feel. The use of mainly horizontal lines keeps one’s eyes moving around the ball.
I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this piece of art before. Earth Art is a unique, creative and often beautiful way to express one’s creativity through sculpting landscapes. This form of art has evolved from earlier works of sculpture. Now using all types of materials, an artist can make almost anything with little limitations; the sky’s the limit. It is very interesting to me to see the different ideas and techniques that artist bring to the table in creating the landscaped sculptures. I believe that earthworks art is something everyone with a love for art can do.