art that excites

Brad J. Goldberg: Coral Eden
When I see art that excites me, that draws a reaction out of me, that makes me really take notice, that stirs my emotions, it becomes a memorable and almost a spiritual experience. And when I see or read about viewers who react this way to art, I’m extremely gratified.
Bill Knight, one of my commenters (who should have a blog), often writes with this kind of excitement when he shares his discoveries of art works on the web. Recently he wrote in the comments in one of my posts about the work of Brad J. Goldberg. Here’s what Bill wrote:

I’d like to share with you a site just put up by a very thoughtful and accomplished artist working in stone. It is interesting to note that he does not try to document his work exhaustively, but rather he gives fragmentary glimpse combined with a paragraph of his thoughts and motivations. I think he is saying, “See the work in person!”
You might especially enjoy his photographs of stonework around the world. As he says in his “Thoughts” section, he is very world, cultural and social-minded. Interesting man. He does some very large works, often with the help of large machines and factories, but however large the work, he always finishes the pieces with his own two hands.
The guy is incredible. What a career. I think his son has done the web-site though I am not sure. It is the perhaps the best sculpture site I have been to with such great visual documentation from pencil drawing to boulder outcrop to finished artwork. He is only fifty or so. What a career. I don’t know of anyone like him when it comes to creating public space with stone.
[…] it’s humbling, awsome, and expansive. He makes the possibility of what stonework can do and can be. He seems to always be looking outward. Rake lines of a Japanese sand garden turn up in a large urn. Circuit chips make an appearance as well as handprints as seen in ancient rock art paintings and chippings. His evocation of coral is brillant. Stonework does not usually bear such explicit textural connotation and signiture of organic intelligence. Overiding all is a sharp situational and social awareness of stagecraft and elocution. Clarity is achieved. Simplicity is molded from sensibility.

From Brad J. Goldberg’s site:

Brad Goldberg is an artist whose work is centered on developing a fusion between sculpture, landscape, urban design, place, culture, and community. It is an art that aspires to escape categorical definitions, restrictions or limitations Each new project generates a unique response encompassing the total aspect of a specific place or circumstance. This response may include sculpture, architecture, landscape, water, furniture etc.”
“As artists, our life orientation is focused on the creation of beauty and a search for meaning. We strive to create work that abounds in hope, creates a sense of continuity, belongs in time and to a place, and responds to people’s innate need for beauty, soul, and community. Our lifestyle, as well, is a reflection of these ideas, focusing on our love of family, friendship, the integrity of our work, a strong sense of belonging to a place, a sense of our heritage as people, and the discovery of new ideas and places that fuel the next steps in our creative ventures.

Do look through the Portfolio of projects. My favourites are Coral Eden, Place of Origin, and Liturgy. Click on the little arrow next to the the project title to see more views of the works in progress.
Thanks, Bill, for finding this artist’s website and sharing your excitement.

Kiwi Stonehenge


Checking through my old bookmarks, I came across an old BBC article about the opening last February of a Stonehenge in New Zealand.

“For millennia people have gazed in awe at Stonehenge, often totally unaware of how structures such as this were used. Stonehenge Aotearoa is not a replica of the ruin on Salisbury Plain in England. It is a complete and working structure designed and built for its precise location in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand. The henge stones, viewed from the centre, mark the daily rise and set positions of the sun, moon and bright stars. The henge also forms a Polynesian star compass marking the bearings taken by Polynesian sailors to and from Aotearoa.” – from the website for Stonehenge Aotearoa. Have a look at the dramatic pictures.

A must-see when we go to New Zealand one day with our Kiwi friends!

Artscape Nordland

Seven Magical Points – Martti Aiha, Finland

Reader and commenter extraordinaire Bill really livened up the virtual conversation at my post about a book on Quadra petroglyphs, Spirit in the Stone. If readers missed it, do go read the comments there.

First Bill identified me as a lithophile in response to Anna’s question about what to call me over my love for rock art! Bill is a keen lithophile himself and remarked on some echoes in some of my prints to work of some stone carvers. I responded: … it’s interesting the similarities that you note. I think my work seems sculptural because I frequently deep etch my copperplates to the point that there are fragmented edges and holes… The plates themselves are beautiful, like relief sculpture.

Bill pointed out numerous interesting links to explore for which I’m very thankful. One of these is Artscape Nordland in Norway. It’s an amazing international art project with 33 invited participants from 18 countries.

The project originated in a comprehensive debate about the role of art in society. The County of Nordland, with its 240.000 inhabitants, does not have an art museum – and people must travel long distances to study modern art in museums and galleries. The idea of a collection of modern art in Nordland, one sculpture in every municipality and with the landscape as gallery, was first presented in 1988.

The underlying idea of the project is that a work of art creates a place of its own through its very presence in the landscape. The sculpture also visualises its surroundings, thus giving the place a new dimension. The dialogue resulting from the encounter between the sculpture and spectator reveals different ways of understanding and interpreting art.

The project officially started in 1992, and was completed in 1998. Sculptures, located in beautiful, varied and often brutal landscapes on the coast of the Atlantic, will be found in 33 of the 45 municipalities in the county. An art gallery without walls or a ceiling – and covering an area of 40.000 km2.

Some of the artists are well-known, like Anish Kapoor, Per Kirkeby, Antony Gormley, and Dan Graham, and many are young upcoming sculptors. Enjoy a tour of these exciting sculptures in their settings along the Atlantic coast of Norway. Thanks, Bill!

Jutai Toonoo’s silent stones

New and Improved, 2000
serpentinite 12.5″ high x 8″ wide x 6″ deep
Inscription: New and Improved Fertility God

Jutai Toonoo of Cape Dorset currently has a solo exhibition “Life Forms” at the Marion Scott Gallery at 308 Water Street, Vancouver, until September 25.

The gallery website states: Toonoo is best known for his unconventional images of human heads and figures, many of which are portrayed in restless sleep- or dream-like states. Carved mostly from locally quarried green and black serpentinite, Toonoo’s sculptures range in stature from a few inches to several feet and are rendered in a style that is both minimal and eerily expressionistic.

The gallery has posted 32 images of Tootoo’s work on their site – have a look. I think it is this expressionism together with the human figure and face that makes his work so compelling.

Then read this review by Robin Laurence, called Inuit artist makes silent stones speak :

His work is quite distinct from our cultural preconceptions of what Inuit art should look like. The sculptures are executed in serpentinite, local to the Cape Dorset area, yet there are no images of Arctic animals here… Instead, the gallery is filled with bare human faces and figures.

Many of the faces are carved in multiple configurations, conjoined in surreal ways, curved around, above, and beside each other, or facing in opposite directions, Janus-like. Instead of depicting the traditional Inuit way of life, or even that life in transition, Toonoo has taken on a universal theme: the human condition. At the same time, his art is extremely personal. “I try to give power to my work,” he says. “Lots of times, my tongue gets tied and I can’t really say what I’m thinking.” The silent stone gives him eloquence.

Spiral Jetty revisited


Spiral Jetty began to submerge earlier this spring, as represented in this May 18, 2005, photo. Image: Mark Milligan at Geotimes.

Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty was a subject of a post I wrote in August of last year. Today Modern Art Note’s Tyler Green says his mind is full of earth art after revisiting the Smithson exhibit at the Whitney. This has inspired him to post what he wrote last fall about his visit to the Jetty and how awe-inspiring that was. It’s eloquent and it will make you want to see it as it much as it’s made me, again, so do go and read it.

But, Geotimes reports:

For the last 36 years, weather cycles have dictated when Smithson’s sculpture would make an appearance. “The jetty has a cyclical presence: being submerged under water, re-emerging encrusted in salt, weathering back to rock and then being submerged again,” says Michael Govan, director and president of the Dia Art Foundation. “Its recurring/disappearing act beneath the Salt Lake only adds to its allure.” And now, following a 1999 drought that allowed the jetty to reappear three years ago, the spiral may be going back into hiding.

Further Links:
Official Robert Smithson site
More photos, video, links

Rock Garden of Chandigarh


Here’s a new kind of rock art! wood s lot has pointed to Carl Lindquist’s excellent photographs and essay on Nek Chand’s Rock Garden of Chandigarh. These are captivating, go look!

One day over 40 years ago, Nek Chand, a humble transport official in the north Indian city of Chandigarh, began to clear a little patch of jungle to make himself a small garden area.[…] Now over twenty five acres of several thousand sculptures set in large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges, Nek Chand’s creation also combines huge buildings with a series of interlinking waterfalls. The Rock Garden is now acknowledged as one of the modern wonders of the world. Over 5000 visitors each day, some 12 million people so far, walk around this vast creation – the greatest artistic achievement seen in India since the Taj Mahal.

Read more about Nek Chand’s massive project.

Carl Lindquist writes that Chandigarh is a modern city, built in the 1950s from a design by the French architect Le Corbusier.[…] Built of industrial waste and thrown-away items, it [the rock garden] is perhaps the world’s most poignant and salient statement of the possibility of finding beauty in the unexpected and accidental. It expresses the fragility of the environment, the need for conservation of the earth’s natural resources, the importance of balancing industrial development and sound environmental practices. It attests to the ingenuity and imagination of the people of Chandigarh and their awareness of these global concerns. Above all, it is a community’s testament of appreciation for art, expressing ideas and problems in a universal language.