Thursday, 29 July 2010


David Nash was born in Esher in 1945. He studied at Kingston College of Art (1963-64), Brighton College of Art (1964-67) and Chelsea School of Art (1969-70). On leaving Chelsea, Nash moved to Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales, purchasing a chapel which has remained since then both his studio and home. Working away from London allowed Nash the intellectual and physical space to develop his art. He not only carves wood, largely from fallen trees, with chain and milling saws - skills that he has perfected over the years - but he also creates sculptures from growing plants, cutting and training them into domes or ladders. His famous Ash Dome, planted as saplings in 1977, is now a mature dome centred on a plot of woodland in North Wales, Nash's 'laboratory' for growing works and a place for thinking.

Many of David Nash's exhibitions - he has had hundreds of solo and group exhibitions throughout the world - are formed from work he has made in the general location of the museum or art gallery, with local wood. Significant shows of this type have been held in America, Japan and Poland. Nash's sculptures, made from unseasoned wood, alter after his intervention, cracking and twisting as they dry. In harnessing not only the element of air, but also fire and water, Nash changes the form and surface of his sculptures. His first charred works were made in Japan in the early 1980s. The process is almost as ritualistic as it is intense. Charring changes the surface to carbon, which, when treated with preservative and linseed oil, gives the sculptures a longer life in the open air.

In 1999 David Nash embarked on making some works in bronze, using earth and fire in the process. The resulting sculptures, with their patina resonant of smoke and ash, hold echoes of his works in wood. Nash continues to work in Blaenau Ffestiniog and in many places around the world. In 1999 he was elected Royal Academician.


"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way.
Some see nature as all ridicule and deformity...and some scarce see nature at all.
But by the eyes of a man of imagination, nature is imagination itself." William Blake

And the dawn lit up the fire of the accelerated rust
That was attacking the face of that exposed, metal, armless, bust
Nothing in this life is forever, or forever lasts
Except some deep forgotten secret, in our mind, from the past
And decay happens, even to personifications of the language of love
Decay happens, even to the delicate petals of the rosebud
What happens to the spark of life, from Love sown?
Why does the product have to grow up and die alone?
And the birds did continue to sing, amongst the decay
Whilst we pump into nature, the toxins that technology will pay
And the acid air, that we all continue to breathe
Is manufactured in the pursuit of the profit and the slease
As we upset and rape the balance of nature
And pay lip service to it in our schools and lecture theatres
It will fight back, with the most deadly force
And will end up destroying ourselves, of course.

George Wright

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Danny's comment on the post below - where nature is taking back certain images and he mentioned the cover for Saint Etienne's "Like a motorway". It is an image of a car that has been left to decay with the woodland taking over the interior.

This is ironic when you consider how the "general consensus is that cars kill the planet: not the other way around". (Danny)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Mankind maintains a complex relationship with the environment. Basically we see what we want and take it. Then when we are out of money, or it becomes inconvenient to keep it, we toss it away. Mother Nature is ticked. Nature is not a passive victim, but an active force. At the final resting place of this old fire truck, nature moves in for the kill. Nature laughs last.

When derelict and abandoned things are left to the elements, there are varying states of overgrowth. As nature reclaims objects, it is both beautiful and creepy. You can almost hear the wind whispering near this house as nature strikes back with a wild growth of vengeance.


Trawling through the internet I came across images that depict nature taking back what it gave to us (Mankind).

Below are a few of the more thought provoking images of natural decay and natural disasters such as flooding and after effects of what scientists are calling global warming.

Each picture I am sure will be read in a different way but one thing is certain they all get us thinking and that is the beauty of theses images.


In twentieth-century sculpture, artists increasingly used new materials which were unfamiliar to them in terms of resistance to aging, and so were unable to foresee the speed and degree of decay these works would undergo – many of them turning out to have only a fraction of the lifespan to that of works from earlier periods. On the other hand, artists played with the foreseeable and deliberate disintegration of works in which the process of decay is a central aspect of the artist’s intention. This intended decay is an interesting problem in the dynamic field of art conservation and the controversial issue of replicas.

Preservation of visual art objects created over the last hundred years has two main aspects. The first is the preservation of the various materials used and the second is the preservation of the intention and meaning of the work which, in most cases, extends beyond the material structure and may even lie outside it. While these points are basic considerations that come up whenever conservation work is to be carried out, obvious challenges are presented by works which use materials that are intentionally subject to processes of change in the near future or conceptual and performance works, the ephemeral nature of which throws into question the importance of the material. By purposefully introducing decay, the artist appears to emphasise the irreconcilable need to simultaneously maintain both the material dimension of the work and its conceptual dimension. If we disregard works such as sculptures made of sugar in the Baroque period, it is evident that food has increasingly been incorporated into artistic works since the 1960s – the idea of the accidental transformation processes, and the beauty created by them, being an integral component of the art. More than any other artist, Dieter Roth was interested in the characteristics of decaying substances.

Dieter Roth (1930–1998) was one of the most diverse artists in the second half of the last century. He was a painter, graphic designer, sculptor, publisher, musician, filmmaker, as well as a poet. Although he himself was interested in collecting and archiving, Roth’s complex and extremely varied oeuvre presents museums with a difficult task when it comes to the preservation of his works. Beyond the ironic and contradictory statements which he made, this is due to the nature of the works themselves: complex installation art; monumental objects and sculptures made from edible substances, such as chocolate, sugar, yoghurt, cheese, bread, mince and spices, which beetles and micro-organisms then transform. And while mutability and transience are inherent in all works of art, Roth accelerates these phenomena, making them visible within a short period of time. Mortality is, in effect, paraded in front of us. And so, when setting aside the ambiguity of the works for a moment, we can see that Dieter Roth was extremely interested in the structure of decay – its form, play of colours, the variations of putrefaction and mould, and their ornamental aspects, the natural mutation of things – and felt that chance, as a shaping element, should be a part of the creation process.

Do we have the right to dispute these artistic intentions because of our responsibility as museums to acquire, conserve, research, communicate and exhibit? Besides the usual preservation of the aesthetic and historical dimensions of a work, in Roth’s case, the museum has the contradictory need to conserve that which was intended to be ephemeral. And so we need to ask: is it legitimate to slow down the decay processes in a museum, in order to preserve the object for reasons of cultural heritage? What strategies can an institution pursue if the conservation of a work appears to contradict the intention of the artist who created it? Can a replica be a way of overcoming this paradox?

Taking into account the processual nature of these works, there is still the question of when is the endpoint of such ‘living works’ reached. At what point is an adequate interaction between the viewer and the work no longer possible, making its exhibition no longer meaningful? What changes does processual decay entail: colour changes and discoloration, distortion, loss of elements or collapse? Can these works reach a state of aging in their material continuity that poses a threat to their integrity or which contradicts their importance in terms of art history? It is less the result and more the continuing genesis of the work – its change and deformation through to decay – that is of importance. Is the endpoint therefore only reached at the point of material disintegration? Or is it reached through intervention in an immutable process and by acting contrary to the original artistic intention? Dieter Roth himself described the state of hardly perceptible degradation that works of art often reach after initial rapid degradation as a ‘museum life’.

This threshold of slow aging has been passed by the sculpture of the Gartenzwerg created in 1972 and now in the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. Because large cracks are forming in the chocolate casing which encloses the gnome, it is in danger of falling apart in the near future. Should we consider having a replica made to allow the visitor to visualise the original sculptural form? Admittedly, that is one of the ideas which comes to mind in this case. But are such approaches also to be adopted for his complex installation art which comprise numerous parts; the object images that have been assembled with great care; or the accumulation collages of diverse foods that give little clue any more as to the original contents? For example, what form should a replica of the latter works take? New layers of edible products such as bread, cheese and sausage mounted on a wooden sheet with milk and yoghurt poured over them? This option would limit the work to processuality and neglect any attempt to retain its authenticity, which may also include a large number of levels of meaning such as the aesthetic, historical, artistic, social and scientific dimensions.4 Umberto Eco spoke of the inequality of project and result: ‘A work of art is both a trace of that which it wanted to be and of what it actually is, if the two values do not coincide.’ If a work is viewed as an object possessing certain structural characteristics and very diverse meanings, then an aspect like the degree of decay could lead the viewer to draw a parallel between the life of the work and his/her own life up to that point – something no longer possible with a replica.

In respect to the dialectic inherent in Roth’s work, we have to ask what factors would induce us to create replicas of his works.

1. The replica as a copy for exhibition purposes. For example, in order to make fragile works which are sensitive to shock and vibration more accessible in an era of numerous changing exhibitions.
2. The replica as a replacement. In the case of lost or damaged elements within an installation or an object image, this practice could be considered an equivalent to inpainting, which is intended to facilitate the reading and experience of a work.
3. The replica as a duplicate, documentation, and didactic aid to understanding. It could be shown side by side with the original, which is now unrecognisable as a result of aging, in order to help the viewer engage with the work, as well as presenting the different stages in processual decay?
4. The replica as a starting point for a new aging process. As mentioned earlier, this would, however, reduce the work to its processual character.

Setting aside the questions of authorisation and value, and the problem of control over the replica in Roth’s oeuvre, in which there are numerous editions, we also have to ask whether it is our intention to preserve for future generations the material form of works which have decay as their theme. Or would the importance of the artistic statement not be more powerfully put across if it was available solely in written and photographic documentation, as evidence of protest against the supposed eternal nature of art. ‘Fotogeschichten können anstelle der Restaurierungen treten,’ [Photography can take the place of restoration as historical record] Roth once said. If, however, we want to prevent the decomposition of works, we must first ignore Dieter Roth’s questioning of the eternal nature of art and either use the methods of conservation to fix an object in a particular state or create replicas of works with a short lifespan. These replicas would repeat the process of decay for eternity.


Born in Ipswich, England, Emma studied at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design in Chislehurst, Kent where she earned a BA (Hons) Degree in Fashion. In 1984 she was accepted into the Royal College of Art in London where she studied Textile Design. Having received her Masters Degree, Emma was invited to work for Jaegar of London as a Knitwear designer. Her other clients have included Aquascutum, London and Missoni, Milan.

Emma emigrated to the United States in 2002 to live in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with her family. In 2007 she helped set up a non-profit organisation that’s just been renamed ‘Restore61’ to provide help for disadvantaged individuals and families on the Seacoast. To help launch and raise funds for Restore61, Emma created a series of artworks and T-shirts that were exhibited and sold in Starbucks, Kaya Jewelry and at Portsmouth Bow Street Fair.

In 2008, with the help of the City of Portsmouth's Cultural Commission Group: 'Art Speak,' Emma gathered a group of artist friends to start 'Art Den' an art community for disconnected young people.

Emma is now pursuing her love for art and is working and exhibiting as a mixed media and encaustic artist, experimenting with oils, collage, fibers and encaustic, drawing from her background in textiles and color and inspired by the beauty of nature near her seacoast home.

Emma was juried into the New Hampshire Art Association in September 2008 and has an art studio at the Button Factory in Portsmouth, NH.

Artist Statement: My art is inspired by the breathtaking beauty of creation. I continue to be amazed by the discovery of often hidden colors, patterns and textures in nature, that seem to change with the shifting light and seasons of New England.


One of the certainties about life is that it ends in death. For most living things, including human beings, that end in death is preceded and followed by some form of decay. In this respect, human beings are just one life form amongst many and the human body is just another form of animal matter. However, advances in science and technology allow human beings to resist decay and death. In the developed world large resources are committed to avoiding or repairing human decay and prolonging human life.

Science and theology offer reasons for suggesting that decay and death are natural and even essential for life on Earth. In this light, to resist decay and death is to attempt to defy the nature of the world in which we live and our own nature as creatures. Such an understanding does not fit easily with the developed world’s current expectation that decay (certainly) and death (possibly) can be overcome successfully.


Andy Goldsworthy is a renowned land artist from England. His passion for nature and change has made his works stand out brilliantly in the art world. Goldsworthy aims to help people notice nature once again and ponder all of its magical mysteries. By creating sculptures made of all natural materials and constructing them in their original environment, Goldsworthy is able to observe the effects of time in nature. Time and the notion of being temporary are aspects of life that the environment and every human has in common. Time links all life; Goldsworthy’s ephemeral sculptures help reinforce the importance of understanding the reality of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

It seems our society is advancing every day, and as we do we travel further away from connecting to the one entity that allows us as a species to exist: the environment. Andy Goldsworthy, a prominent British land artist from Yorkshire, made it his life goal to remind the world just how magical nature still is and the many truths that it openly presents to any willing eye. As stated by Goldsworthy himself, “There is no doubt that the internal space of a rock or a tree is important to me. But when I get beneath the surface of things, these are not moments of mystery; they are moments of extraordinary clarity” (Goldsworthy qtd. in Adams). The environment is connected to us, and we are connected to it. Time and the notion of being temporary are aspects of life that the environment and every human have in common. Goldsworthy presents these ideas through the works that he creates around the world.

Goldsworthy spent most of his childhood working on farms, which coincidently is where his love and admiration of nature bloomed. He enjoyed the repetitive work of farm hands, much like he now enjoys the repetitive work of sculpture making. Goldsworthy claimed that, “farming is a very sculptural profession, building haystacks or plowing fields, and burning stubble” (Goldsworthy qtd. in Beardsley). At nineteen years, he entered the Preston Polytechnic in northern England as a fine art major. He soon found out that he despised working indoors. The classrooms and studio work were not in his interest. He would escape to Morecambe Bay, where he would build small sculptures that the tide would quickly destroy. Before long, he realised that while his fellow students were representing the landscape on canvases, he was instead “drawing on the landscape itself”. Many artists struggle with how to convey an occurrence in the real world into a canvas limited by its two-dimensional nature and the specific materials available to them. Goldsworthy skipped to using the real world as the materials and canvas, and in doing so, “he can illustrate aspects of the natural world—its color, mutability, energy—without resorting to mimicry”, thus helping the rest of the world see the beauty that he already saw in nature. Goldsworthy’s art is influenced by the changing weather and seasons. As Goldsworthy stated on his 1990 webpage, “Philosophy,” “For me, looking, touching, material, place, and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. Place is found by walking, direction determined by weather and season”. Whether it is leaves, stones, ice, or wood, he examines each natural material to create his organic designs. A striking energy is found in nature, and Goldsworthy is a master at using line, color and shape to help magnify its power. He says, “art for me is a form of nourishment” (Goldsworthy qtd. in Von Donop). Goldsworthy seeks the “energy that is running through, flowing through the landscape” (Goldsworthy qtd. in Von Donop), aiming not at capturing it as much as at participating in it. He “relies on what nature will give him. Goldsworthy ‘feels’ the energy from nature and transcends that energy into an art form. For this, his transient sculptures contradict the permanence of art in its historical pretense”. Goldsworthy essentially challenges the meaning of art and traditional views of what art is. Besides creating aesthetically fascinating sculptures, Goldsworthy’s art speaks silently about meanings and symbolisms that are deeply manifested in each work.

All of Goldsworthy’s masterpieces are created with natural items, and most of them are constructed from items in the natural setting. This peculiarity makes his art so powerful. For example, his work entitled River is a rock in the middle of a river, on which Goldsworthy placed dozens of icicles pointing straight up like spires. The icicles give off a majestic feeling, showing that nature has a certain power over us, be it noticeable or not. We are nothing without nature; we would not exist as a species without it. One of Goldsworthy’s biggest aims is to just get people to notice nature again; through his extraordinary works, he inspires thoughts of how we interact with the environment and how time affects everyone and everything. He uses these seemingly ordinary objects, and creates magnificent sculptures that, in an instant, grab anyone’s attention. It is all about an emotional response. As Goldsworthy states in his book, Passage, An artist makes things that become a focus for feelings and emotions - some personal, some public, some intended, some not. At best a work of art releases unpredictable energy that is a shock to both the artist and the viewer. I do not mean shock in conventional sense but an emotional tremor that articulates a feeling has been in search of form.

This desire for his audience to experience an emotional response from nature has inspired works such as Sticks Stacked, in which Goldsworthy stacked sticks in a hole. However, he positioned the sticks in a way that left a hole in the middle - a hole within a hole. This seemingly ironic suggestion leaves the viewer confused enough to look at it and ponder the art in a new way.

In Beech Leaves, Goldsworthy layers red, orange, yellow, light green, and dark green leaves on top of a small pool, creating a fluid flow of dynamic natural colors. The astonishingly intense colors snatch the attention of any viewer and make one wonder, for just a moment, how the immensely beautiful scene came to be. Since it is made from natural materials, the viewer pairs the sculpture with nature, but the uniquely expressed composition produces confusion. Is this really natural? Ultimately, Goldsworthy achieves his goal of helping people notice nature in a way that is different than they did before. His art possesses many deep meanings that he is just waiting for people to explore. Goldsworthy explains that for him, “art has to be more than shock. I would rather subvert things, try to make people look at them differently”.

Death, renewal, and time are large themes in Goldsworthy’s art. Time is the ultimate link between all beings on earth. Time strings together all of humanity, regardless of ethnicity or culture, and it is a major factor that exists in nature as well. Everything is born from something else, exists, and then dies or is destroyed when it is time. Goldsworthy makes his audience realise this truth by making ephemeral works. His art is short-lived, and he captures every moment of his art’s changing and gradual demise. For all his works he takes a series of pictures that depict their transformations due to the changing world around them. In the case of River, as well as all his other works, Goldsworthy takes pictures of the sculptures’ gradual destructions. His subtle obsession with death and rebirth only adds to the deep symbolic meanings of his works and the different ways he wants his viewers to see nature. He explains that, “each work grows, stays, decays - integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its height, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit” (Goldsworthy qtd. in Witcombe). Another example of Goldsworthy's documentation of ephemeral change can be seen in his photographs of Végétal. This was a performance piece about the significance of change and the fleeting characteristics of time. Goldsworthy collaborated with choreographer Régine Chopinot and her company, Ballet Atlantique, to bring the rhythms of nature and the ideas of movement and time to modern theatre. Végétal consists of five parts, in which the dance includes changing sculptures using nothing but natural materials, and the dance moves fluctuate between choreographed and random. Goldsworthy took a series of pictures recording the passage of sticks thrown into the air, so that the “intensity of the gestural act of creation is only apparent momentarily, recorded through processes of generation, regeneration, and decay”.

Because we are so deeply bonded to nature, Goldsworthy seems to convey valuable information as to how we should treat the environment that we inhabit. Although this may not be one of his intentional messages, Goldsworthy seems to suggest a mentality that humans could be more respectful to nature and everything it has given us. Much like Goldsworthy’s ephemeral designs, we should have the same impact on nature. When we arrive we should live our lives, but after we are gone the world should be able to go back to the way it was before. Time links humans and nature. Without this bond, both would cease to exist. So we could all benefit from noticing the magic of nature and treating it with more appreciation.

Although many of Goldsworthy’s works only last a couple of days, if not a couple of hours, the impact of their symbolisms and meanings should be recognised. As Goldsworthy states, “At its most successful, my 'touch' looks into the heart of nature; most days I don't even get close. These things are all part of a transient process that I cannot understand unless my touch is also transient - only in this way can the cycle remain unbroken and the process be complete” (Goldsworthy qtd. in Witcombe). Time interconnects all humans to the environment: the magic aspect of it, as expressed through Goldsworthy’s art, keeps the artist and the viewers endlessly in awe.

Monday, 26 July 2010


Today I sat and watched the DVD "Rivers & Tides" by Andy Goldsworthy.

This film by Thomas Reidelsheimer was a great insight into Goldsworthy's work and how his passion for his work materialises.

His main focus is to learn about the place or situation he is in and pick inspiration from its surroundings. He always strives to make something look effortless by spending most of his time on the details of a piece. It was also interesting to note that whilst studying at Lancaster University he used to spent lots of his time on Morcambe beach (A place I will be spending a few days next week carrying out some of my own practical tests. Much of Goldsworthy's work is based around the sun, light, water and rocks and there connection with the environment as well as nature.

Goldsworthy sites one of Constantin Brancusi's quotes: "Simplicity is not an objective in art, but one achieves simplicity despite one's self by entering into the real sense of things."

One of his quotes that I have thought constantly about since reading it was "When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water... If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit."

This relates back to my interest in water, time, memory and has made me look at objects and nature in a different light.

The way that Goldsworthy goes about his work has to be admired. Watching the film highlights how unpredictable working with nature can be. He was working with stone and made 4 attempts at creating a sculpure before the tide came in and eventually abandoned the day to come back the next and start all over again.

His painstaking creative process captures the elusive quality of his work, which is threatened and sometimes destroyed by nature and THE PASSING OF TIME.


Visiting the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is a unique experience, offering a remarkable insight into the work and outlook of one of Britain's most important twentieth century artists. Sculptures in bronze, stone and wood are on display in the Museum and Garden, along with paintings, drawings and archive material.

Barbara Hepworth first came to live in Cornwall with her husband Ben Nicholson and their young family at the outbreak of war in 1939. She lived and worked in Trewyn studios, now the Hepworth Museum, from 1949 until her death in 1975. Following her wish to establish her home and studio as a museum of her work, Trewyn Studio and much of the artist's work remaining there was given to the nation and placed in the care of the Tate Gallery in 1980.

'Finding Trewyn Studio was a sort of magic', wrote Barbara Hepworth; 'here was a studio, a yard and garden where I could work in open air and space'. When she first arrived at Trewyn Studio, Hepworth was still largely preoccupied with stone and wood carving, but during the 1950s she increasingly made sculpture in bronze as well. This led her to create works on a more monumental scale, for which she used the garden as a viewing area. The bronzes now in the garden are seen in the environment for which they were created, and most are in the positions in which the artist herself placed them. The garden itself was laid out by Barbara Hepworth with help from a friend, the composer Priaulx Rainier.

Tash our lecturer wrote:

Her work slots into my research quiet nicely as she works mostly with natural elements such as stone and wood. Below are a few examples of her work.

Friday, 23 July 2010


Another piece that Danny directed me to is this image of a tree covered in lace.

Attention to detail here is amazing - Andrew Harris uploaded this image to Flickr (although I am unsure if he actually produced the art or just photographed it?).

It is a great representation of human intervention with nature. It looks stunning to the eye and really highlights the trees form and turns it into a thing of beauty.

A useful site to learn more on this subject (Yarn Bobbing) is:

A Zed & Two Noughts

Something Danny forwarded onto me was a link to the film A Zed & Two Noughts - this follows on from my interest in decay and time...

An intricate & textured study of decay & deterioration

The film begins with the sound of a car crash. The next frame unfolds to show us a white car with a swan embedded in its windscreen, and a woman shouting out in agony. We can also see two women in the back of the car motionless. Who are then imposed on to a newspaper headline: SWAN CRASH TWO DIE, it says. The deceased women were married to twin brothers, zoologists Oliver and Oswald Deuce. After the accident they grieve at the bedside of the stricken survivor of the crash, a lady named Alba Bewick, who has had her leg amputated. At first they blame her for the accident, then later start to both sleep with her.

Most of their time is spent photographing dead animals and plants. Some of these are shown decaying quickly, accompanied by good music from Michael Nyman. Also around the zoo is a prostitute named Venus De Milo, who the brothers both use. A strange figure named Van Hoyten. And also the film features the only feature film appearance of the English comedian Jim Davidson, who will be familiar to viewers in England. He plays Joshua Plate, an assistant at the zoo. Eventually Alba has her other leg amputated, and also has twin babies by the Deuce brothers. Yes, she claims they are by both of them. It then leads to a tragic conclusion. It is a fascinating film to watch. Beautiful to look at, as always with Greenaway's films. It offers the viewer many layers and textures to explore. Each scene is delicately structured. Something different. Watch it again and again.

I will be searching for this in the library and will hopefully be watching it over the coming weeks?


Nicolai Howalt was born in Copenhagen and graduated from Denmark’s Photographic Art School Fatamorgana in 1992. Nicolai Howalt’s work has documentary references, operating at the intersection of conceptual photography and installation.

Nicolai Howalt has had solo exhibitions at Esbjerg, unstmuseum; Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York; Martin Asbæk Gallery, Copenhagen and Center for Fotografi, Stockholm among others. He has also exhibited at Statens Museum for Kunst, ARoS and Skagens Museum in Denmark, and in Korea, China, USA, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, France, Finland, England, Hungary and Turkey.

In 2001 Nicolai Howalt published the book 3x1 with Gyldendal Publishers. Boxer was published in 2003 by ArtPeople. He has received a series of grants from the Hasselblad Foundation, The Danish Ministry of Culture, The Danish Arts Foundation and The Danish Arts Council.

Nicolai Howalt is represented in numerous public collections, including The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; MUSAC, Spain, Maison Européenne de Photographie, France, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, USA, La Casa Encendida, Spain, Fondation Neuflize Vie, France, Art Foundation Majorca, Spain, Hiscox Art Project, USA. And in Denmark, The National Museum of Photography, The Danish Arts Foundation, Skagen Museum, Nykredit and Museet for Fotokunst, Brandts.

Nicolai Howalt also has a long-term collaboration with the Danish artist Trine Søndergaard. They have published books including How To Hunt, with ArtPeople in 2005 and Hatje Cantz in 2010, and TreeZone with Hassla Books in 2009, and exhibited together in Sweden, Germany, Spain, France, Canada, Finland, USA, China and Korea. Their collaborative works have received awards including the Special Jury Prize at Paris Photo 2006 and The Niels Wessel Bagge’s Foundation for the Arts Award in 2008.

Nicolai Howalt is a member of Kunstnersamfundet and The Danish Association of Visual Artists.
He is represented by Martin Asbæk Gallery in Copenhagen and Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York.

His work is very abstract in its execution and at the same time draws in the observer to really study what is in front of them. I like his work as it makes you really study the piece to extract your own assumptions on the image.


Richard Shilling is a sculptor, photographer and film maker working in the field of Land Art.

Land Art involves making sculptures using only natural materials gathered near to where the sculpture is made. Many of them are ephemeral and will last only a few short minutes before the wind or the tide takes it away. Soon after nothing remains and Richard attempts to capture the most vital and vibrant moment of each sculpture in a photograph.

He makes his sculptures in beautiful and wild natural places across the North of England. Particularly in Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire but he has also created sculptures in Scotland and the Himalaya. He uses snow, leaves, wood and stone and anything else that mother nature can provide.

I have been fortunate enough to make contact with Richard over the last week and I am hoping to experience watching him at work (or even helping) on one of his land art projects. His work is really interesting as shown below - his skill at manipulating nature and the resources around him is inspiring to me and what I want to achieve from taking on this MA.


Environmental sculptor and photographer Martin Hill has devoted his life to making people see. He wants us to see the beauty of nature, to see that we are very much a part of this nature, and to see that our current modes of living are destroying nature. Yet, even more importantly, he wants us to see that the solution to this problem is all around us, a message that is at the heart of his newest collection, Earth to Earth: Art Inspired By Nature's Design. "My sculptures," Hill explains, "are a response to the fundamental conflict between the destructive linear design of human economic systems and nature's evolved cyclical design." He strongly believes that if we follow nature's example and develop economic processes that are cyclical, with each and every end product nurturing something new, we can ensure a happy, healthy future for ourselves and our planet.

Created from objects found in a variety of habitats, from rain forests to arctic snow drifts, Hill's work visually represents this cyclical design in a stunning array of vivid colors and breathtaking imagery.

Hill's artwork is far more than just a visual reflection of nature's evolved design; the very process of its creation follows the cyclical pathway that Hill so strongly advocates. As Edwin Datschefski explains, "Martin Hill's work shows how, in a very pure way, materials can be borrowed from nature to make a physical product that performs a function or service – in this case the stirring of people's souls. Unlike traditional artists' materials, when the materials Martin has used are returned to nature, they continue on their geological or organic pathways, and the cycles of life are unbroken."


James Turrell is one of the world's leading artists. His forty year exploration of light enables him to make thought-provoking and beautiful contemporary art works which often have an emotional and uplifting effect on viewers.

Born in 1943 in Los Angeles, James Turrell studied astronomy, psychology, mathematics, fine art and art history at Pomona College, Claremont and the University of California.

His background in aircraft construction and flight navigation, together with a rigorous knowledge of optics, eye physiology and perceptual psychology, have each informed his work over the last four decades.

In 1966, Turrell rented the former Mendota Hotel in Ocean Park, California: sealing the building from the sound and light outside, he experimented with projected light, gradually introducing shafts of moon and sunlight into the spaces. This important period of experimentation and development provided the basis necessary for all subsequent works.

Following his first international solo exhibition aged 33 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Turrell has continued to exhibit in major museums internationally.

In 1984 he was awarded the prestigious 'genius' award - the Katherine T. and John D. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, France in 1991; the Friedrich Prize, Germany in 1992; an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London in 2003; and membership of the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.


"One of the beauties of art is that it reflects an artist's entire life. What I've learned over the past 30 years is really beginning to inform what I make. I hope that process continues until I die."

"I find some of my new works disturbing, just as I find nature as a whole disturbing. The landscape is often perceived as pastoral, pretty, beautiful – something to be enjoyed as a backdrop to your weekend before going back to the nitty-gritty of urban life. But anybody who works the land knows it's not like that. Nature can be harsh – difficult and brutal, as well as beautiful. You couldn't walk five minutes from here without coming across something that is dead or decaying."

"I enjoy the freedom of just using my hands and "found" tools--a sharp stone, the quill of a feather, thorns. I take the opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches. I stop at a place or pick up a material because I feel that there is something to be discovered. Here is where I can learn. "

"Looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. The energy and space around a material are as important as the energy and space within. The weather--rain, sun, snow, hail, mist, calm--is that external space made visible. When I touch a rock, I am touching and working the space around it. It is not independent of its surroundings, and the way it sits tells how it came to be there."

"I want to get under the surface. When I work with a leaf, rock, stick, it is not just that material in itself, it is an opening into the processes of life within and around it. When I leave it, these processes continue."

"Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather. Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature."

"The underlying tension of a lot of my art is to try and look through the surface appearance of things. Inevitably, one way of getting beneath the surface is to introduce a hole, a window into what lies below."

Thursday, 22 July 2010


Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Ode to rust from Tom Strongman on Vimeo.


Following on from an earlier post I have decided to upload some more of the images I took when I visited Crosby beach and the Gormley installation.

Below are a few more to cast your eyes over.