When you hear the term "land art", you may scratch your head and wonder just exactly what this means. Swiss artist Sylvain Meyer is an amazing exponent of this art, using the very earth itself as his canvas. Found elements of nature form the paint which he then applies to his natural canvases, resulting in work that is wonderfully integrated into nature and, apart from being extremely eco-friendly, is as breathtaking as it is beautiful.
Land or Earth Art emerged as a true art form in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, during the boom years of "Flower Power". This was a concept in which the landscape and the art were linked together in every way imaginable. The art cannot exist without the natural world, simply because everything that is to become the artwork is part of nature to begin with.
The artworks come into being through the use of natural materials such as soil, bed rock, boulders, stones, logs, branches, leaves and water, with allowance being made for the introduction of some man-made materials like bricks or concrete. Sculptures are not placed into the landscape except in the sense that elements of the landscape actually become the sculpture.
Such elemental and esoteric art work is usually located in the countryside, well away from civilization, and is mostly left to change and erode under natural conditions, because the very essence of the artwork can change with the natural deterioration of the materials used. Sylvain Meyer can make the forest floor sing with artistic glee, as he arranges things there.
Had you not seen for yourself, through the course of this article, how incredible the resulting art can be, you might not have believed it possible to create such wonder from such items – but the real beauty of the artistic mind is that it can see opportunity for expression in the unlikeliest of settings, and a good artist will take full advantage of that.
There are many other land artists of course, and as environmental concerns become ever more important, then undoubtedly this kind of art will find a wider and more receptive audience.
Even though it is not yet very popular, land art is an art form that is finding ever more supporters and fans, and rightly so.
The use of the environment itself to create art is surely as eco-friendly as anyone could hope it to be. Sylvain Meter is a name for the future, having already embraced this awesome way of working. Whatever comes next is sure to be worth waiting for.
My sincere thanks to Sylvain Meyer for granting permission to use the images included.