Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finding Meaning in Earthwork

. . . creating art — music, poetry, film — is akin to a religion,
a belief that you are here for a purpose and that those who 
figure that out live life at a level that is not available to others....*
~ Stan Herd

What's an artist willing to give up to make art, knowing the art can only be seen from the air and is not meant to last?

For the unconventional Kansan Stan Herd, bringing representational crop art to the urban canyons of New York City proved both a blessing and a curse of sorts, costing him a fortune he didn't have, as well as his marriage, and introducing him to a group of homeless people who, helping him bring his vision to reality, uncovered the meaning of other kinds of struggles.

The artist's story of what he risked to create his environmental artwork Countryside on two acres of land owned by Donald Trump — land since cleared and filled in with high-rise buildings — is the subject of Earthwork, a 93-minute movie written, produced, and directed by Chris Ordal that has won numerous awards and has been showing across the country this spring, most recently in Kansas City; it will be screened May 20 in Los Angeles and May 27 in Santa Fe. The film stars John Hawkes as Stan Herd. Here's the official trailer:

EARTHWORK (2011) official HD trailer from Chris Ordal on Vimeo.

Herd's been making land art for more than three decades, taking as his subjects famous Americans such as Will Rodgers and Amelia Earhart, and commercial products such as Absolut Vodka. He's traveled the world, digging, plowing, and etching his visions into the ground in England, Cuba, and Australia. His canvas is the surface of earth, the bigger the mass the greater his vista.

Here is Herd's portrait of Ibn Battuta, a 14th Century scholar. The rock "mosaic" was constructed in 2009 on a farm near Lawrence, Kansas.

A video of Herd's Obama Earthwork, created in Dallas, Texas, in  March 2008, may be viewed here.

* Quoted in Connie White, "Stan Herd", nakedcitywichita, April 2, 2010

Photo Credit: Eli Reichman

Earthwork on FaceBook

Stan Herd at Kansas Sampler Foundation (At this site, you will find information about Herd's Amelia Earhart Earthwork, in Atchison, Kansas.)

Stan Herd at Strecker-Nelson Gallery (Some of the artist's paintings may be viewed here.)

Stan Herd at South Wind Gallery


S. Etole said...

This is really quite fascinating.

Louise Gallagher said...

Reading Jeannette Catsoulis review just made me angry! At least Kate Diemling was more understanding.

Now, I want to see the movie!

Anonymous said...

that's a new one to me

Hannah Stephenson said...

Wow. I have never seen his work before...