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How Does Life Work?

Biosphere as an Expression of Spirit

Earth Art

Art based in natural Earth is as old as humanity. Nature is the crucial font of art-making among indigenous peoples. In the so-called First World, aka Western Civilization, the twentieth century, in the 60s and 70s, began to see a rennaisance of Earth Art/Land Art. Some early work, such as Smithson's Spiral Jetty in Salt Lake, was massive and intrusive, and is more a celebration of human power over nature than a response to Earth's life and being.

Happily, about the same time, artists such as Nils Udo and Andy Goldsworthy in Europe and Anne Hull in the US were beginning to develop the concept of artistic collaborations with Nature. Their creations were not memorials made of durable bronze or granite, but rather works, like the creations of all nature, that would exist within the flow of seasons and be as intentionally ephemeral as flowers, or riverbeds.

In other words, Earth Art intends to work in harmony with nature and in some cases to help heal human damage. Lynne Hull calls her work "ecological atonement." Most Earth Art is not a celebration of the human ego, but is more an affirmation of the beauty and power of the living biosphere of which we are one aspect.

More work by some living artists below may be seen on the Artist/Naturalist pages


serpent mound
ancient Native American

Promised Shore runes in snow, by Markku Hakuri

Stone-carved water catchers for wildlife, by Lynne Hull

Dream in snow
by Barbara Roux

hawk roost
by Lynne Hull

Dream of Freedom,
by Markku Hakuri

Icicle Star
by Andy Goldsworthy

Mirror leaves by
Nils Udo

River Poline,
by Richard Long

Snow Circles
by Andy Goldsworthy

Dandelions, Hole
by Andy Goldsworthy

Fisch, by Buntrock and Schultz

Peaceable Kingdom
by Edward Hicks

by Susanne Duranceau

Arcs on beach sands,

Little Lake
by Nils Udo

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Explore Further in Biosphere

Biosphere: Introduction
Biosphere as Place: Introduction
Biosphere as Ocean: Life Zones
Biosphere as Ocean Floor: Benthic Biomes One
Biosphere as Ocean Floor: Benthic Biomes Two
Biosphere on Land: Terrestrial Biomes
Biosphere on Land: Anthropogenic Biomes
Biosphere as Process: Introduction
Biosphere Process: Floating Continents, Tectonic Plates
Biosphere Process: Photosynthesis
Biosphere Process: Life Helps Make Earth's Crust
Biosphere Process:
Rock Cycle--Marriage of Water and Rock
Biosphere Process: Marriage of Wind and Water
Biosphere Process: Gas Exchange
Biosphere as An Expression of Spirit
The Ecological Function of Art
The Earth Goddess
The Tree of Life
The Green Man
Earth Art
Biosphere as Community
Biosphere Microcosm: Bacteria and Archaea
The Procaryote Domain
Biosphere Microcosm: Germs
Biosphere Community: The Eucaryote Domain
Biosphere Community: Protists 1: Algae
  Biosphere Community: Protists 2: Protozoa
Biosphere Community: Plants: What's New?
Biosphere Community: Plant Diversity--Major Groups
Biosphere Community: Plant Defense
Biosphere Community: Plant Pollination
Biosphere Community: Plant Seed Dispersal
Biosphere Community: Kingdom Animals
Biosphere Community: Kingdom Fungi
Biosphere Community: Six Great Extinctions
Return to Ecology Index