Friday, November 19, 2010

5 Sun Circles

Is there any other sort of visual art that requires such a combination of speed, timing and accuracy? And do those constraints change throughout the year, month to month and sometimes minute to minute?

This was originally going to be called Seventeen Sun Circles which sounds like a much cooler number than five.

But I started too late and the evenings are really drawing in fast and I started to run out of thorns. If I wanted to make seventeen circles then by the time I had finished it would be dark and I would have missed my chance.

Of course musicians and dancers have to be accurate, fast and timely. Perhaps painters have to apply their paint in a particular fashion so it does or doesn't dry. A stone sculptor must tap the chisel just right to reveal the shape within the rock, whilst the bronze must be at the right temperature for correct casting. All important technical skills for artists in a myriad of disciplines. But, as I have never followed these disciplines, their subtleties pass my by.

The materials I use come from nature and change and grow and decay all the time. Leaves rip, tear, dry out, shed fixing thorns, curl up and go brown. You need to be accurate so that you aren't fixing them over and over as they cannot take the punishment. Wood and sticks dry out and contract, will snap and not be moist enough to be pierced with thorns. Colours fade and everything becomes brittle so you need to be fast too if you want to bring your ideas into fruition.

I try to incorporate the elements themselves into what I create, the sun, the moisture in the air, the temperature all play a part and as you become more skilled with the materials, you reveal more and more about how they behave. You notice the subtle nuances in everything: the height of the stream, the angle of the sun, which new plants grow at different points throughout the year.

This may sound like I am bemoaning the variability of what I use but that couldn't be further from the truth. Does paint change throughout the year? Will a piece of music die off in autumn and return once again in spring? The more time I spend making land art the more gifts Mother Nature throws up for me to discover.

I may have set off to make seventeen circles but I had to adapt. Therein lies the essence of land art. I had to experience and feel the change in the movement of the sun, the drawing in of the evenings and the impending dark time I feel within.

Nothing ever stands still, everything is in constant flux and making natural art sculptures from anything I find around me opens a little window into the world of nature and all her wonderful and fascinating nuances.

By the way - I am still hibernating. I made this is in September. I'm off back to my cave...

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