Naturalism through Art: Andy Goldsworthy
By: Lauren Royer
Earth Day weekend I screened a film called 'Leaning in the Wind', and it's impacted me deeper than I had expected. Thinking the film would be kind of indie, artsy, and light-hearted- I waundered in and let myself be open to a good time. This became much more than that. I walked out with a renewed interest in nature, art, and life as a whole.
Ah man but now your expectations of the film may be too high, it may be ruined. I'm willing to risk that on this one. Stop reading for spoilers now.
'Leaning in the Wind' is a cinematically stunning film about an artist making art. The music, scenes, subject, and direction are all notable and 'new' in your mind. Yet, there was something vastly familiar of the concepts being presented to you. The emotions are raw, light, and mildly electrifying. You see artist Andy Goldsworthy making his art, some of which will disappear before your eyes. Like beautiful, haunting magic tricks. They disappear as a reminder that nature is ever-changing and moving, like us.
What makes these tricks of hand so beautiful is that this artist's primary tools and supplies are nature itself. Stunning organic images are created with bright yellow pollen on a tree. Hundreds of red leaves covering rocks in a river. The list goes on, but this link has a well rounded collection of his images as it becomes indescribable in words from here. This fella actually is one with nature, even uncomfortably so as viewers see him crawling through tree branches and laying in the rain to form a human shape. We become very aware that our footprints are both temporary and lasting. The film contrasts the artist with the art. Successfully, it opens his soul showing that behind all the quirks and years of work, there is a method behind his madness. Or, at the very least, a meaning.
Beyond all this artsy stuff... ENVIRONMENTALISM. Did I lose you after that? Cool. Because this film renewed my desire to fight for this planet. It's a major bummer we can't appreciate this earth more. It's also a major bummer we can't RESPECT her more. By making his art of the earth and letting her blow it away by wind or decay, Goldsworthy respects her. In one scene, he was preparing to do a major stone installation. They planned to drill into the rockbed, and he couldn't bring himself to do it, noting, 'it didn't feel right'. His Naturalist approach in art form touches on the part of you that feels at peace when walking through a forest. Even outside of wild lands, Goldsworthy brings Naturalism into cities and among concrete steps and skyscrapers, nature is subtly the most dominant force present.
"Leaning into the Wind" is a sequel documentary to "Rivers and Tides". Both were directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer. For information on how you can help your planet Earth, start with this resource: www.earthday.org/take-action/