I first learned about the Yorkshire native, now Scotland resident, Goldsworthy (b. 1956) from books: A Collaboration with Nature (1990) and Wood (1996). I would sit for hours and devour the photos, documents of some of the work he's done with natural, often ephemeral, materials such as leaves, rock, snow, and ice. Then there was a documentary about him, Rivers and Tides—one of the very few DVDs I actually own. The beginning words: "Art for me is a form of nourishment. I need the land. I need it." Art and the land get mixed up both in these words and in his work, in such a beautiful way.
I'd heard that he had four site-specific works in the Presidio, which is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and suggested that we try to find them—an outing! And Tom and Michele hadn't known about them, so even better!
The only problem was, Michele has a broken foot and is on crutches. But we figured we'd see what we could, and she was game to wait in the car when necessary. (Positive spirit, remember.)
We found them easily. Three ("Wood Line," "Tree Fall," and "Earth Wall") involved eucalyptus trees, one ("Spire") Monterey cypress, all historic trees that were being culled for various reasons.
"Earth Wall," the most recent, completed in 2014, is perhaps the most permanent of the four sculptures—and to my mind, perhaps the most interesting (a tie with "Tree Fall," really). It comprises bent eucalyptus branches that were assembled into a sculpture attached to a wall of the Presidio Officers' Club; encased in a new, rammed-earth wall; then carefully excavated.
I think Andy Goldsworthy is an amazing obsessive. I think I might be afraid of obsession. Of losing myself in something I love so much. But he gets results. Maybe obsession isn't such a bad thing—if directed well.
If you're interested in seeing more about Goldsworthy's Presidio installations, including videos, go to www.presidio.gov/art.