Landscape and Western Art (201-223)
Land art blurs the distinction between what is land and what is art. It becomes even more difficult when the material used in the project is also the inspiration. Traditionally, there’s always been nature and then the artist’s interpretation. Throughout history, there has literally stood a wall between the landscape artist and his artwork, but since the 1960’s to present day, land artists have been increasingly ‘dirtying’ their hands and their galleries…
As the sculptor Michael Heizer said, “Earth is the material with the most potential because it is the original source material” (203). In other words, landscape art is going back to its roots to mingle with the nature that inspired it. Many critics wonder how far will this line be drawn. Even artists have to differentiate between what used to be called ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor’ to now having to call it ‘site’ versus ‘non-site’.
There are many different forms of land art so it stand that there are many types of artists. Some Earth artists consider themselves gardeners or sculptors because their installations are designed to be experienced with the surrounding environment. Some are filmmakers and photographers. Many artists like Andy Goldsworthy have made films about their creation processes so that their audiences can try to get a feel for work that went into it and also to see the art on a larger scale.
A lot of land art is associated with eco-friendly and environmental efforts. Many artists like Michael Snow think that nature and the wilderness will one day vanish. Snow believed the wilderness is by definition the absence of human interference. He wanted his work to show the beauty of what nature used to be so that in the future, when it might be gone, we will still have a record of it. “I want to convey a feeling of absolute aloneness, a kind of Goodbye to earth which I believe we are living through” (222).
Whenever we take a picture of a glacier, isn’t there a part of us that knows one day, in the future, we won’t be able to?