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Is Throwing Seaweed Art? It Is for Andy Goldsworthy

Seaweed and colored sand go flying in a new exhibition of the land artist's photography.

by Nathaniel Ainley
May 3 2017, 3:01pm

Kelp thrown into a grey, overcast sky. Drakes beach, California. 14 July 2013, 2013 Unique archival inkjet print 22 x 32.5 inches framed. Images courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery

Strings of kelp are thrown into the air amidst a gray secluded beachfront in one of the enthralling landscape photographs staged by English artist Andy Goldsworthy. This unique tactic has been common practice in Goldsworthy's work across his long career as an artist. Capturing raw materials as they sit suspended in air is Goldsworthy's way of "drawing" onto a given landscape in real time. In the image above, pieces of kelp create an abstract arrangement of lines as if they were marking up the scene's coastal backdrop. This is one of the featured prints in Goldsworthy's new solo exhibition, Drawing Water Standing Still, at the Haines Gallery in San Francisco. The forthcoming show, which opens June 1, features a collection of videos and photographs of the artist creating ephemeral moments in nature using organic materials like pigmented dust, rocks, ice, and water.

Red river stone. Crushed into dust. Thrown. Dumfriesshire, Scotland. 30 May 2016, 2016 Unique archival inkjet print 18 x 27 inches framed

The show also features multi-panel photographs that look at subtle changes in a given landscape over time. For example, a series of six photographs called Red. Water. Line. focuses on the reflection of a red neon sign in a trail of water on the ground. The movement across each pictures watches the glow of the sign wax and wane as the water moves further down the sidewalk. The spontaneity of these works is part of what makes them so special. You can almost imagine Goldsworthy catching this scene in the corner of his eye while walking through the street one night. Works like Red. Water. Line. draw attention to the essence and aesthetic nature of infrastructure; roads, city steps, and buildings are all characters in Goldsworthy new set of works, a change of pace for an artist known for his engagement with the natural world.

Ice. Lifted from nearby pond. Placed on top of fence posts. Early morning. Dumfriesshire, Scotland. 30 January 2017, 2017 Unique archival inkjet print 36.5 x 25 inches framed

Pass. Dumfriesshire, Scotland. February, March 2016, 2016 Multi-channel Digital Video, Color, sound 11 minutes (looped)

Thames water line. London, England. 18 January 2017, 2017 Unique archival inkjet print 25 x 36.5 inches framed

Drawing Water Standing Still is on at the Haines Gallery in San Francisco from June 1st to July 29th. The exhibition will be presented in tandem with Leaning into the Wind, a new documentary about the artist. Learn more about the exhibition on the gallery's website.

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