7 Land Artists We're Inspired By

Posted by Charlotte Boates on

We believe in working with nature, not against it. And, we find inspiration from design that takes its cues from nature, calls attention to our planet, and seems to flow fluidly with a landscape. It isn’t a surprise that we’re big admirers of land art—a movement that began in the 60s and 70s but that continues today, of art created directly on nature or land itself. 

We’ve compiled a shortlist of a few land artists who we're inspired by for you to explore below.

 A photo of the land art Round Balance by Tanya Preminger

Round Balance by Tanya Preminger (source)

1.  Tanya Preminger

Israeli-based sculptor Tanya Preminger creates works based around natural materials, often at a monumental scale and built into a landscape. The dialogue with the earth is seen in pieces like Round Balance in France, where it appears as if a circular piece of earth is being balanced, or with Stratum, where a path on a grassy hill in Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture leads to the sky.

 

2. Zander Olsen

Consider a sense of horizon. Photographer Zander Olsen is known for his work Tree, Line. Taken in specific locations in forests in Wales and England, portions of trees are wrapped in a white material to line up with the horizon line or other visual points.  

 

3. Robert Smithson

“Establish enigmas, not explanations,” stated Robert Smithson. One of the pioneers of the land art movement, Roberto Smithson’s work seems to do just this—draw us in, and create a sense of wonder and mystery. His most well-known land art work, Spiral Jetty in Utah, is comprised of a winding spiral made using black basalt against a reddish lake. The rocks grew salt crystals, creating something seemingly otherworldly and enduring.

Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson, land art piece in a lake

Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson (source

4. Nancy Holt

In the Utah desert, you can come across Sun Tunnels, one of Nancy Holt’s most well-known land art works. Large concrete cylinders are arranged on the land, with holes that allow for the starlight to show constellations, and positioned so that they align with the sunrise and sunset on the solstices. 

“I feel that the need to look at the sky — at the moon and the stars — is very basic, and it is inside all of us.” - Nancy Holt

 

5. Maya Lin

An architect and sculptor, we love Maya Lin’s wave fields—similarly themed works in Storm King Art Center in Upstate NY, and at the University of Michigan. Built into the landscape, the grass is made to look like repetitive waves flowing through the earth. 

 

Image of Niagara River Gorge Path Relocated, a land art piece by Michelle Stuart
Niagara River Gorge Path Relocated by Michelle Stuart (source)

 

6. Walter de Maria

De Maria’s land art is thoughtful and commanding. In works like The Lightning Field, stainless steel poles are positioned into the ground in rural New Mexico. Only six people are allowed to visit the site per day, allowing for a feeling of seclusion or isolation, and a critical part of the experience. Like many pieces of land art, De Maria’s sculpture allows us to not just experience the person-made work itself, but emphasizes the holistic experience of art through including the landscape and surrounding context in the piece.

 

7. Michelle Stuart

A multidisciplinary artist based in New York, Michelle Stuart creates works that draw inspiration from nature, using organic materials and continuously referencing the landscape. She’s known as a pioneer of land art through pieces like Niagara Gorge Path Relocated, where a decisive and solid line is drawn through smashed rocks into paper, tracing a path along the original location of Niagara Falls.

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