land art

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Art

Expansive Geometric Drawings Trampled in Snow and Sand by Simon Beck

January 20, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Driven by super-human forces and undaunted by the powers of nature, artist Simon Beck (previously) trudges across sand or through knee-high snow to create massive geometric drawings left behind in his footprints. From sandy expanses on the shore of New Zealand to frigid outlooks in the Swiss Alps, any pristine surface that stretches for hundreds of meters can work as a suitable canvas for Beck’s designs.

Each site-specific piece is planned well in advance on a computer and carefully mapped out on-site before the artist begins his grueling expedition. After walking for entire days, the painstaking details of enormous fractals, snowflakes, dragons, and undulating geometric forms are left in his wake—often with barely enough sunlight to snap a few quick photos.

Seen here are a number of pieces by Beck from the last year or so. You can learn about the fine details of his process in this FAQ and see additional photos over on Facebook. He also published a book of his work titled Simon Beck: Snow Art.

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Art

Artist Stan Herd Plants a 1.2-Acre Field Inspired by Van Gogh’s 1889 Painting “Olive Trees”

September 23, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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We’ve seen a number of interesting projects lately that attempt to bring art from inside museums into the outdoors. Artist Stan Herd has been doing just that for years by using fields as his canvas for both original compositions and interpretations of historical art. His latest work is a monumental 1.2-acre interpretation of Van Gogh’s 1889 Painting “Olive Trees” planted in Minneapolis. The piece was commissioned by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and involved weeks of mowing, digging, planting, and earthscaping to create the piece viewable from the air near the Minneapolis airport. If you happen to see the piece when flying into the city, you can head to the museum to see the real thing.

Herd’s first outdoor land art piece (he refers to them as “earthworks”) was an ambitions 160-acre portrait of Kiowa Indian chief Satanta, that he physically carved into a Kansas prairie in 1981. He’s since created dozens of works around the world, and notably inspired Japanese artists in Inakadate province north of Tokyo to plant a series of incredible rice paddy artworks.

The Van Gogh field will be on view through the fall in Minneapolis, after which Herd plans to mow it down in concentric circles similar to the Dutch artists’s iconic painting style. You can read more about the piece in the StarTribune. (thnx, Randy!)

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Art Photography

Washed Up: Alejandro Duran’s Site-Specific Found Plastic and Trash Installations

April 18, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Working along a single stretch of coastline in Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally-protected reserve, artist Alejandro Duran collects countless bits of trash that washes up from locations around the world. So far he’s discovered plastic debris from dozens of countries on this shore of the Caribbean coast which he utilizes for site site-specific installations for an ongoing project titled Washed Up. By creating aesthetically pleasing landscapes from a disheartening medium, it’s Duran’s hope to create a harsh juxtaposition that draws attention to the global catastrophe of ocean pollution. He shares in a statement about Washed Up:

Over the course of this project, I have identified plastic waste from fifty nations on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an. I have used this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures. Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.

More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament. The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our disposable culture.

Duran just received the Juror’s Award from CENTER for his efforts, and has upcoming exhibitions at Habana Outpost in Brooklyn and at the XO KI’IN Retreat Center. (via This Isn’t Happiness, LENSCRATCH)

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Art

Precarious Bridges and Towers of Balanced Rocks by Michael Grab

January 1, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Working only with rocks, gravity, and patience, artist Michael Grab (previously) builds precarious towers and bridges that seem to defy gravity. Grab first tried stone balancing during the summer of 2008 while exploring Boulder Creek in Boulder, Colorado, and quickly discovered an innate ability to build increasingly complicated, free standing stacks of rocks. While his stone sculptures rely heavily on intuition and experience, there’s actually a method he uses in most of his work involving hidden “tripods” found on the surface of any rock. He shares in detail:

Balance requires a minimum of three contact points. Luckily, every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a natural tripo for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the vibrations of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest “clicks” as the notches of the rocks are moving over one another. In the finest “point-balances,” these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters, and in rare cases can even go undetected, in which case intuition and experience become quite useful.

You can watch the video above to see Grab at work over the last year, and also see more photography of his stone balancing in his online portfolio or on Facebook. Grab survives mostly off print sales, so if you’re in need of a fancy new calendar for 2015, he’s got you covered.

 

 



Art

An Expansive Swirling Snow Drawing Atop a Frozen Lake by Sonja Hinrichsen

November 28, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Early last year, artist Sonja Hinrichsen (previously) and some 60 volunteers wearing snowshoes trekked out onto the frozen Catamount Lake in Colorado to trample miles of swirling and twisting patterns into the deep snow. Titled Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake, the work was a continuation of her community-based snow drawing projects that bring together local volunteers to transform snowy landscapes into temporary artworks based on parameters provided by Hinrichsen. From her statement about the project:

It is important to me that participants experience the elements of nature while they help me transform their own familiar snow landscape into a piece of art. I hope that the aerial photographs that I take right after completion of each piece can demonstrate also to a larger audience how the landscape is transformed into a piece of art through a system of designs. This changes our perception of the landscape and accentuates the beauty and magic of the natural environment, and thus inspires awe and appreciation for art as well as for nature. I deem this important – especially as modern society becomes increasingly disconnected from the natural world.

Hinrichsen most recently completed a snow drawing project that traced the original flow of the Yampa River in Routt County, Colorado and has upcoming projects scheduled in Illinois and the French Alps.

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Art

Desert Breath: A Monumental Land Art Installation in the Sahara Desert

February 20, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

Located near the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt, Desert Breath is an impossibly immense land art installation dug into the sands of the Sahara desert by the D.A.ST. Arteam back in 1997. The artwork was a collaborative effort spanning two years between installation artist Danae Stratou, industrial designer Alexandra Stratou, and architect Stella Constantinides, and was meant as an exploration of infinity against the backdrop of the largest African desert. Covering an area of about 1 million square feet (100,000 square meters) the piece involved the displacement of 280,000 square feet (8,000 square meters) of sand and the creation of a large central pool of water.

Although it’s in a slow state of disintegration, Desert Breath remains viewable some 17 years after its completion, you can even see it in satellite images taken from Google Earth. You can learn more about the project in the video above or read about it here.

 

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists