The idea of merging natural landscapes with art, by using the natural materials available within those surroundings to the artist is what formulated the movement of Land Art. We have some incredible contemporary as well as older examples within this movement to help elucidate better.
Land Art or Earth Art, began as a movement that utilises any natural landscape to create site-specific structures, art forms, and sculptures. Emerging out of Minimalism and Conceptualism, the movement gained momentum from the 1960’s to the 1970’s. The materials used usually were found on site – soil, rocks, vegetation and even water. The works would not always be accessible for long and were also made in remote areas with limited access, thus the artist would document their journey and works to display in galleries for the general public to gain an awareness of both the scope of the project as well as the work of art.
Below, a few incredible examples of artists who championed this movement are included, alongside those who are continuing their incredible journey of Earth Art even today:
1. Robert Smithson – He can be called the ‘father’ of the Land Art movement as his works quite literally began the movement itself. The artist is so famous that one would not go without mentioning his work ‘The Spiral Jetty’. Located at the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah, it is made entirely of mud, salt crystals, and basalt rocks. The entire work forms a 1,500-foot-long (460 m), 15-foot-wide (4.6 m) counter-clockwise coil jutting out of the shore of the lake.
2. Maya Lin – Born in Ohio, Maya Lin graduated from the prestigious Yale University and turned her talents towards land art. Her interest stemmed from a childhood love for the environment that she converted into art. Her work ‘Storm King Wavefield’ inspires a broad perspective on the landscape as it weaves in and out of the rolling hill and becomes an exploration of the forms of the grass and earth.
3. Subodh Kerkar – Originally a doctor, Subodh Kerkar found his calling in land art through his trysts with installation and public art. He also founded the famous Museum of Goa in 2015 to promote and nurture the budding talent of upcoming Indian artists. His work ’Carpet of Joy’ made in 2017, was to make the audience engage in the conversation of pollution and the harm that was being done to the local and global environment. The installation is made of 150,000 flowers, created completely out of plastic bottles.