Robert Smithson's spiral jetty in the Great Salt lake of Utah stands or rather lays as the best known example of what is refered to as earth art. Smithson would call it an Earthwork. Creating art in nature with natural materials is the defining philosophy of those who follow in his footsteps. For those who've had the good fortune to follow Andy Goldsworthy's luscious serpentine stone wall as it disappears and resurfaces- diminished- from the waters of Storm King or frolic through the saffron arches of Christo's Central Park reverie have known the existential thrill of collaborating in the artistic vision of its creators, and by the very act proclaiming art to be beyond the reach of the commercial art market.
Andy Goldsworthy's connection to nature is beheld in the temporal nature of many of his creations: Ice sculptures that transpire with solar fluctuations; floating floral caravans that are borne by tides to watery graves:"I think it's incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can't edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole." So it is in the works of these masters that we feel their humanity at work; directly born onto the matrials and canvas of earth.