Beyond the Surface: Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy's "Earth Wall," his fourth installation in the Presidio of San Francisco. The Chronicle/Sam Whiting
Photo credit, San Francisco Chronicle

There’s a new Andy Goldsworthy piece at The Presidio (San Francisco). Here is the artist in a six-minute video, describing the process of excavating the work from a rammed earth wall: “Earth Wall”.

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After the Celestial Axe

After the Celestial Axe - detail
photo credit: drue.net

Photographs and a short video of After the Celestial Axe (see my April 2013 article, “New Sculpture at Djerassi“), are now available at the artist’s site, drue.net. My own personal encounter with the sculpture won’t be until the end of summer, when I lead an outdoor art hike at Djerassi.

After the Celestial Axe is beautiful and changes constantly, as is to be expected of mirrors placed outdoors. They capture the changing landscape, from moving clouds and shaking tree limbs to light and dark. The nature lover in me is concerned about the potential hazard to wildlife, particularly birds. You can hear them chirping in the video. I cannot imagine what the blinding light does to them when the sun hits the piece. (There are 27 parts to this sculpture!) And how do the other animals fare with this glare? There are deer and bobcat, for example, in this area. What is the effect on them?

New Sculpture at Djerassi: “After the Celestial Axe”

After the Celestial Axe - detail
detail (credit: the artist, Drue K., April 2013)
Fall of the Celestial Axe

Where: Woodside, CA (in the Santa Cruz Mountains, “near” the towns of Sky Londa and La Honda)

Note: Djerassi is also known as Djerassi SMIP Ranch.

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Updated: 5/4/13 — Above is a part of the sculpture, “After the Celestial Axe”. This is my favorite section. It looks like a woman and man in embrace and possibly a child, a baby, is in her arms. I see what I see and this may not be what anyone else sees and may not be what the artist herself sees. I will post more photos of this piece later this month.

As of April 2013, there is a new sculpture at Djerassi. It is by artist, Drue Kataoka whose inspiration for the piece is the fallen oak tree pictured below. The artist has incorporated the sculpture into the tree and the tree into the sculpture. She calls this work “After the Celestial Axe,” and describes it as follows:

“A giant axe fell from the skies, leaving a sparkling residue of starry formations.  Twenty-seven surfaces of frothy mirror fragments, shaped & arranged with a high degree of optical awareness, create dynamic intersections of multiple refraction planes.  From afar, these reflective arrangements sparkle in the sun; but when examined more closely, they break, distort & expand the boundary between viewer & artwork, allowing both viewer & environment to infiltrate the world of the artwork.”
 
Fallen Heritage Oak, picnic grounds at Djerassi (credit: Djerassi)
Fallen Heritage Oak, picnic grounds at Djerassi (credit: Djerassi)
When I was last at Djerassi about two weeks ago, pieces of the sculpture lay on the floor near the artists’ residences, far away from the tree. There Drue fused shards of mirrored glass onto the many surfaces of wood. A work in progress, the artist would later assemble the mirrored wood by the tree. Would she lay them on the ground? Would she assemble some on the tree itself? In what order would they be juxtaposed, one to the other? These questions have now been answered. The sculpture is complete. In the next month or so I will visit and take pictures. Look for them in a follow-up post.
About the Artist, Courtesy of Djerassi
Drue Kataoka is a Palo Alto based artist and Stanford Alumni who now has commissions all over the world, even in outer space! She participated in the Zero Gravity Art Exhibit at the International Space Station. The piece, “After the Celestial Axe,” was made by cutting slices of the tree with a chainsaw, sanding it down, sealing the wood, and adhering patterns of broken mirror to the surface.
Some interesting conversations about the tree are on Djerassi’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151100874571636&set=a.351297911635.159925.50314976635&type=3&theater
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ACTIVITIES: Guided hikes and outdoor art tours; one month artist residencies
REGION: In the Santa Cruz Mountains
HOURS: Open to the public on a limited basis from April through November; annual open house in July
COST: Free and paid hikes
LOCATION/VENUE: Djerassi Resident Artists Program, 2650 Bear Gulch Rd  Woodside, CA 94062
Phone: (650) 747-1250

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