04 March 2011
The first photograph that you view on my blog, which is part of the masthead, was taken at the National Gallery of Art. I never travel without my camera; it’s a constant companion that forces me to be in perpetual “viewing” mode. Because I am a voyeur of the human and natural landscapes, I stay alert to what they have to offer. The 2009 spring trip to Washington, D.C. was to meet a friend, and our excursion included galleries and museums where photographic exhibitions were on display. But that did not stop us from popping into various other venues.
Andy Goldsworthy is an artist of international fame whose work is primarily outdoor site-specific nature-inspired interpretations. I’ve been a fan for years. His use of natural materials to make ephemeral and iconic sculpture originally drew me to his work. The world-wide acceptance of Goldsworthy as an artist is a huge feat. Much to my delight the National Gallery of Art had purchased one of his works for its permanent collection. Fortunately, during our visit the work had been newly-installed in the museum’s Sculpture Garden. Because the work swallows the entire physical space of the garden, you must view it from inside glass windows (ground floor where I took the photograph), or on the upper mezzanine where you can view the eye of each of the nine creations–every one is six feet high and 27 feet in diameter–as well as outside over a retaining wall.
Under my blog’s name is a cropped version of the original photograph that I took on that brightly lit day. I was ambivalent. How would shooting the sculpture through the glass give an authentic sense of the work? To my surprise the result was a study in formation and undulation that is reminiscent of Mother Nature during her exuberant hours of creation. In actuality Goldsworthy used the dome as his inspiration–a theme that he has interpreted with raw materials such as ice and leaves. For this work he was inspired by the capitol’s architectural forms that are replete with massive stone structures, and spread across Washington’s D.C.’s concrete expanse. “Roof” is a stunning salute to the intersection of nature and human nature.