Art at the Cornell Library

I am totally in love with Andy Goldsworthy; there, I said it.  It was love at first sight, I won’t lie. The “Prairie Cairn” in Grinnell Iowa took my breath away, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Goldworthy is a sculptor, from England who uses materials from the local environment to make bold, statement pieces often times, with architectural undertones. He uses sticks, ice, leaves, dandelions, rocks, and sand, among other materials, to create pieces that engage with the environment.  He documents the creation of his work with pictures: from their inception, to their completion, and depending on the piece, it’s disintegration. Goldsworthy says this about his work, “Nature goes beyond what is called countryside—everything comes from the earth….What is important to me is that at the heart of whatever I do are a growing understanding and a sharpening perception of the land.”

As many of you know, the environmental collection at the library is quite diverse. An author search retrieves three Goldworthy books, which I encourage you to explore. For a broader exploration of art check try a subject search for Nature Aesthetics.

In his most recent book, Arch, Goldsworthy and David Craig document the “building, dismantling and rebuilding” of a red sandstone arch along an ancient English route, which sheep were once driven. The Arches are placed in industrialized and more “natural” settings along the way. Env.Coll N6797.G65 A41999

Goldworthy documents his dynamic work with earthen material in his book Stone. Some of my favorites in this book are “Yellow elm leaves laid over a rock, low water,” and “Between two trees.” You can also find out what a Cairn is! Env Coll. N6797.G64A41994

The book Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature is a photo documentary of Goldsworthy’s vivid use of diverse natural materials to create sculptures. It is completely stunning.  ENV COLL N6797.G65A4 1990

With the help of Genie Shields and the Dean’s Office, Michael Secca and Elizabeth Billings, of Tunbridge, installed new pieces throughout the loft and campus level of the library which complement our environmental collection. Secca’s photo series, Twilight, documents ephemeral light between night and day. Billings work is tactile and earthy; she uses materials collected from her local environment to create textile pieces. Her piece Fragmites II complements Fragmites, of our permanent collection, and will soon travel to Kroon Hall, the new home of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. I hope you will stop by to enjoy their work.

Since Goldsworthy is in England, it is unlikely that I will get to meet him soon. As they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder—and so far, so good.

Written by HEC