Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Circles and Spirals

Sally Smith’s environmental art features delicate, ethereal sculptures illustrating the simple and fragile beauty of the natural world.

“Round, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning…” goes the song. This has set us thinking about the prevailing use of circles and spirals in art works included in what has been agreed to call Land Art, as is the case – among others – of Andy Goldsworthy, already featured in our blog. And, yet, we are suddenly struck by the fact that we find it quite natural. After all, Land Art deals with Nature and a mere glance around us reveals how far circles and spirals are basic elements in Nature.

The sun, the earth, the planets, the universe, ripples caused by a stone tossed into a stream, most of the fruits bore by trees, pebbles, they all are basically round.  Circles have no beginning and no end; they stand for the eternal whole and their movement suggests energy and power. In their completeness, they suggest the infinite, unity, harmony. On the other hand, spirals are often found in the natural growth patterns of many organisms and convey the idea of fertility, birth, death, expansion and transformation. Life. Nature.

Aware of all this, Sally Smith, born in New Zealand and living in Waiheke Island, has dedicated her talent to the creation of Environmental Art inspired by the native Maori people’s culture and celebrating the flora and fauna of her homeland. Most of her “natural” sculptures actually display the circular and spiralling patterns of the natural world.

Using raw materials directly collected from Nature, Sally Smith creates ephemeral sculptures illustrating the simple beauty of the natural world she so much cherishes. Impermanent as they are, she photographs her sculptures once they are finished and leaves them in place to follow their course and eventually melt back into Nature. Flowers, stones, leaves and ice are Sally Smith’s media, which she handles with the talent and dedication that other artists put into their paint or clay.

The result is fascinating ephemeral art works which, in their thorough harmony with their surroundings, touch viewers for their simplicity and flimsiness and may raise awareness to the fragility of this world which is “like an apple whirling silently in space”.

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