Writing. Design. Social Change.

Posts tagged ‘Andy Goldsworthy’

Great Duck Island, Maine. Wild roses. Black Guillemots and Leach’s Storm-petrels. Stars. Tides. Granite cliffs. Solitude. 

I wanted to write a poem. Sometimes when I want to write a poem, I need some momentum – so I asked a friend for a word.

I was working with the word palimpsest.

- writing material used more than once, with faint traces of earlier writing present
- material having layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface
- from palimpestos – scratched or scraped again (as in the days of parchment and wax coated tablets)

I walked the island with the mantra: again, I scrape. I poured coffee: again, I scrape. I woke to the sound of the tide: again, I scrape.

The unwritten “palimpsest”poem was tormenting me.

One place kept drawing me in. It had to do with the tidal flow around a certain rock outcropping.

To get to there, I had to walk through a pathway of wild roses. The air on this path was sweet, sensual, feminine, in contrast to the spikier scent of seaweed just a few steps away.

The tide eventually ebbed exposing dozens of tidal pools. Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy’s vibrant dandelion piece in which he floated dandelion heads in a puddle of water beside a river (Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides Working With Time), I began to collect rose petals.

I realized that I was making an environmental poem that the tide would scrape away.

The color was a shock. 

Alien to this place.

Yet also familiar.

A kind of testimony to the island.

To things that rise and fall.

Roses and rocks. At first glance they seem opposed. The delicate and the solid.

Yet water wears away petals and stones alike. Again, it scrapes.


This was a day about seeing space and form in a new way. I spent the day at Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley, a 500-acre open air museum full of dramatic spaces for viewing sculptures.

Often when we view art – the objects become the focus of our perception. At Storm King, our perception shifts and we are able to experience the objects as the frames and anchors for space. It works both ways: space clarifies form and form creates declinations that clarify space. There’s the space that surrounds and the space in between.

Here space isn’t negative or dead. Instead, it takes on a dynamic quality that enhances the viewer’s engagement with the sculptures. Space plays a variety of roles at times acting as a colorist, at times providing tension, at times anchoring our gaze, at times unsettling us.

This museum is a new favorite.

Alexander Calder, Five Swords

Isamu Noguchi, Momo Taro

Alyson Shotz, Mirror Fence

Andy Goldsworthy, Storm King Wall

Andy Goldsworthy, Storm King Wall

Alexander Calder, The Arch

Richard Serra, Schunnemunk Fork