Rivers and Tides

Last weekend husband and I watched “River and Tides,” a film on the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy. Twigs, leaves, icicles, and thorns. Water and stones. These are the materials of his sculptures.

The icicles and leaves last but a few hours in the sun and wind. A fistful of crushed rock explodes into color as it hits the surface of a mountain stream, then is diluted and washed away as the river continues its journey.

The cairns, the stones stacked in the shape of an egg, a “seed” he calls it, are more durable. At times, though, he builds them on the beach at low tide. He waits nearby, to view and document the arrival of incoming water.

The work was not made to be destroyed by the sea, however. It is instead a gift to the sea. “The sea has taken the work and made more of it than I could have ever hoped…”

The real work of art, he says, is the change. The transition from one ephemeral state to another.

He pulls reeds from the ground, each stem blackened below the point where it was still surrounded by earth, where the contact between plant and earth has changed the plant. Evidence of heat.

Spring, he says, starts deep in the ground.

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