Land, Environment and Place-based Artists

By 25th June 2022 July 9th, 2022 Creative Practice


I’ve been looking through a bunch of books on Land Art and Place, some are from the library, and some are mine from home.

There were a fair few artists listed across the books, obviously, but I’ve only noted down the artists and/or art that I think are interesting, for better or worse. I’m not sure there’s much point showing which work I found in what book, so instead I’m going to list by artist (in no particular order). Some images were represented in the books, some caught my eye whilst looking for other images, some artists had their names mentioned but no examples given.



herman de vries

herman de vries online catalogue - 1995 | hasenperspektive

Hasenperspektive (hare’s eye view), 1995


Herman de Vries, 108 pounds de flores de lavanda, 1998 – Sólo de verdad

108 pounds of lavender flowers, 1998



from the forest floor, 2005


From Earth, Herman de Vries 1985 - Mercedes-Benz Art Collection

from earth, 1985

I like the tactile and sensory nature of this work, and of showcasing what nature does naturally. I’m not so fussed on the photography work, but the rest of it is lovely and is in line with the type of work


Chris Drury

Medicine Wheel - Chris Drury | Land artist – making connections

Medicine Wheel, 1983


Covered cairn | Chris Drury | Axisweb: Contemporary Art UK Network

Covered Cairn, 1993


Chris Drury Wind Vortex Icevoid Ice Print ... - ANTRONAUT

Snow Vortex, 29m, 1999

There’s something here around ritual, myths and archetypes which I’m really attracted to. As much as I love the foraging nature of Medicine Wheel, I do feel highly critical of  it, because a British artist has blatently appropriated Native American culture for his own gain. As fascinating as I am by indigenous teaching that is not from my own ancestry, I don’t ever want to appropriate like this. Inspired, yes. Using direct reference, no.



Andy Goldsworthy

Magical Land Art By Andy Goldsworthy | Bored Panda


I hate his stuff, controversial I know. It feels very decorative and empty to me. Even after learning that he’s interested in decay and entropy, I still find his work conceptually lazy and just a bit shit to be honest. I think what I dislike so much is it’s ‘prettiness’ in conjunction with an obvious ‘human hand’? It screams this idea that nature is only be beautiful after human intervention, after a person has rearranged things (read: controlled nature) in a human-centric pleasing way. This is no different than a manicured garden, in my opinion. I do, however, very much appreciate that he uses only what he finds on-site (even when it comes to affixing things), and that the work has a temporary nature.



Sjoerd Buisman

sjoerd buisman zet de natuur een klein beetje naar zijn hand...

Het Gat (The Hole), 1995-1998

7 Sjoerd Buisman ideas | land art, art inspiration, art

After 1 year updside down sanseveria, 1976-77

I find this work interesting. There’s something about creating a framework for showcasing the adaptability and change of nature.



Richard Long

Richard Long Paintings & Artwork for Sale | Richard Long Art Value Price Guide

Muddy Water Line, 1989

Museumsportal Berlin

Berlin Circle, 1996


Mud-painting? I wanna have a go! Sometimes it’s about taking childhood processes and scaling them up then? Richard Long is another overrated artist in my honest opinion. I get it, I get the thing about walking, and line and experience… all of it. I suppose I just don’t find the translation of that that interesting.



Susan Derges

Susan Derges | River Taw (1998-1999) | Available for Sale | Artsy

River Taw Photograms, 1997-98

The imagery isn’t that interesting to me, but the process of it is. She submerged photographic paper underwater at night and flashed it with light to make these images. There’s something I like here about capturing a moment in time.


Bruce McLean

Treescape, 1969

150ft Seaskape, Largiebeg', Bruce McLean, 1969 | Tate

Seaskape, 1969

Although I don’t much rate the Seaskape, there’s something interesting there about plonking a thing in a place and letting nature do what it wants to do with it.



Herbert Bayer

Earth Mound | maat ext.

Earth Mound, 1955

Interesting, but not that interestingly executed. Although I love how this almost becomes a small amphitheater, or at the very least, a lovely communal area for people to sit and be with each other in.


Dwan Gallery Invitation Card

Earth Works | maat ext.

Designed by Gallerist Virginia Dwan, 1968

Feels like a cousin to my seed papers, but suggests to me that perhaps I could use stencils to get a cleaner effect?



Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Visualization of tree crown formation captured by the artwork of... | Download Scientific Diagram

Wrapped Trees (1997-98)


SHELTER-IN-PLACE: Christo's Valley Curtain - Artillery Magazine

Valley Curtain, 1970-1972


Christo and Jeanne-Claude: On the Making of the Running Fence | Smithsonian American Art Museum

Running Fence, 1972-76

I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I hate that they use vast amount of plastic-based materials to wrap, divide, and/or suffocate the land, air and water. It may look aesthetically pleasing and dramatic, but the energy-intensive process of creating these materials, and the heavy-(human)handedness of it on the Earth is awful. I now we could say the same about buildings, dams, walls… and yes, exactly, you could.


Walter De Maria

Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room | Visit Our Locations & Sites | Visit | Dia

The New York Earth Room, 1977


Light and Lightning: Wonder-Reactions at Walter De Maria's The Lightning Field | Essay | Gagosian Quarterly

The Lightening Field, 1977

Showcasing the elements by providing spaces for them to do their thing. Yes, I love it.


Agnes Denes

Agnes Denes' Prophetic Wheatfield Remains As Relevant As Ever | Architectural Digest

Wheatfield – A Confrontation, 1982

I LOVE this, and I love her. It’s beautiful, meaningful, has a clear activist message and provided food and nature for inner city inhabitants. And its gardening <3


Patricia Johanson

Quia - List of Terms

Cyrus Field, 1970-71

A forest as an canvas, in which people can explore the space in whatever way they want. Yes, that’s lovely. If I could afford a patch of woodland, I’d have such amazing plans for it.


Roger Ackling

Weybourne, 1992 by Roger Ackling :: | Art Gallery of NSW

Weybourne, 1992


Interesting process (uses magnifying glasses to focus sun onto woods) and I admire his patience. I don’t have much else to say, but it’s the only artist I’ve come across so far who harnesses the sun in their work.


Nils Udo

ART IN NATURE with Nils-Udo - Workshop at CAMP in Aulus-les-Bains

Red Beech with Rowanberries, 1993

Pin on Installations & Land Art

As a rule, I generally like Udo’s work. Udo seems to be inextricably linked to Goldsworthy because both their work is very pretty and is about rearranging things in nature… but Udo’s has a different flavour that I like a lot more. For starters, it seems much more responsive to and celebratory of the site, which I like. Secondly, even the aesthetically pretty, Goldsworthy-esque, obviously-human interventions (such as the nest sculptures pictured) generally have a dual (probably unintended) purpose of actually being able to support wildlife. Which, since I have a strong sense of not fiddling whilst Rome burns, is important to me and something I hope to do if I work outside.



Anya Gallaccio

Anya Gallaccio, Repens, 2000 | Thomas Dane Gallery

Repens, 2000

I don’t find this that interesting in all honesty, more highlighting just to remind myself what’s possible with turf-working.


Maurizio Cattelan

VIAFARINI - organizzazione non profit per la promozione della ricerca artistica - Maurizio Cattelan

Senza Titlio, 1998

I do like this, although I have a huge sense of empathy for this tree because of how displaced it seems. Not only is it inside an unnatural space, it’s very much alone. That’s not me projecting or anthromorphising either – plants need diversity and ‘company’ to thrive. I also find it aesthetically art-wankery – it’s probably the cube that does that?


Maya Lin

&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp THE WAVE FIELD — MAYA LIN STUDIO

Wave Field, 1995

There’s something here that makes me feel really uneasy, but this is a reminder of how one could work with earth. I’d much prefer to see this teeming with wildflowers though – it’d look infinitely better and better support wildlife.


Michael Heizer

File:Double negative.jpg - The Jolly Contrarian

Double Negative, 1969

Hate hate HATE this kind of Land Art. It’s extractivist and aggressive, exploitative and industrial, singing to Capitalist sensibilities that is in direct, active opposition to environmental care and conservation. I understand it might be a commentary on anti-environmentalism, but understanding the context of American Land Art and how this work has been framed in books, makes me think that it’s not. It’s literally seems to be a celebration of scarring the Earth.


Keith Arnatt

Self-Burial (Television Interference Project)', Keith Arnatt, 1969 | Tate

Self-burial, 1969

Alongside Charles Simonds’ ‘Birth, 1970’, I’ve realised that not interested in this sort of Land:Body Art. Although this work really makes me laugh! I get what they’re communicating, but it brings attention to the human in the piece, not the environment.



Sue and Pete Hill


Mud Maid – Living sculpture by Sue and Pete Hill (5 photos and video) | STREET ART UTOPIA

Mud Maid, 1998

This is a bit cringey for me, although I know this is exactly the type of figurative thing that mass audiences would go wild for. It has the capacity to support life, but lacks depth. Again, this is more of a reminder to me that Earth can be sculpted and covered in turf.



Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey

duo Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey 'grow' art | Large scale artwork, Land art, Installation art

Theaterhaus Gessneralle, Switzerland, 1993

This is really interesting, using turf in this way to take over human spaces. It has a strong clear message, but I am highly critical of the use of turf as grass is INCREDIBLY water inefficient.


Samm Kunce

Law of Desire, year unknown

Almost in response to the comment above, this piece is interesting because it highlights how much water and support grass needs to be kept alive. It’s also interesting because it shows grass as being almost alien-like creatures in an inhospitable space. It feels a bit Matrix-y to me, but for plants.


Meg Webster


Meg Webster - Artists - Paula Cooper Gallery

Glen, 1987/2022


Meg Webster: Wave / Onyedika Chuke: The Forever Museum Archive_Circa  6000BCE / Muna Malik: Blessing of the Boats - Announcements - e-flux

Solar Glow Room, 2016

I like Websters work. Indoor gardening. House-plant artist! There’s much more interesting older work that I can’t find images online of where she recreates mini habitats (e.g. wetlands). A reminder that I can use gardening as an art form!


Ian Hamilton Finley


Ian Hamilton Finlay - Creative Folkestone Triennial

Weather is a Third to Place and Time, 2014


Little Sparta | Graphic Arts

Little Sparta: The Present Order, 1983

Poet-artist who uses words to respond to place. I don’t like his stuff aesthetically, but as someone who uses writing as an increasingly important part of her practice, it’s good to bear in mind that I could use words, or even just letters, in my work. This reminds me of David Abrams though – in Spell of the Sensuous he argues that humans distanced themselves more from nature with the invention of written language… so is using words (which is essentially a short-hand for understanding) a distancing of self/experience with nature? Or could words be used to reconnect with nature?



Hamish Fulton

Buy Hamish Fulton - The Life of Mountains (France)

The Life of Mountains

I appreciate that his work is all about his direct experience of nature and the artistic outcome isn’t everything – which I love and relate to – but the work just isn’t that interesting to me. Concept, yes. Documentation/artwork, lacking. Think this is telling me that I need something more than just core basic details if communicating an experience.


David Nash

An interview with David Nash | Apollo Magazine

Ash Dome

Yeah, it’s cool.  Not sure what else to say, to be honest.


Guiseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone | Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire

Tree hands


Giuseppe Penone, Tra...., 2008 | Marian Goodman

Tra……, 2006

I like that Penone takes a spirit of collaboration in his work – I really relate to him in that way. But how he translates this sentiment just seems to me like he’s took something natural and did something cliche with it. And then some of his most famous work, like the Tree Hands, I find horrible. It literally translates to me as the ‘hand that man has over nature’. I don’t know, there’s a disconnect between the way he reportedly thinks about collaboration and then what that ends up being.



Peter Hutchinson

Image description

Botanical Gardens, 1994


Landscape Recipe, 2005 - Peter HUTCHINSON | Gallery GADCOLLECTION, Paris

Landscape Recipe, 2005

I love collage – there’s always something so joyful and accessible about it. This could be something I try out for myself as a nice thing to do, see if new connections are made.


General thoughts from going through

  • There’s an awful lot of white men in these books. Where are all the women at? Where’s the ethnic diversity? Is nature just the preserve of the privileged?
  • Land Art feels very tied up in class. Some of it is temporal and quite small scale, but an awful lot of it requires some access or ‘ownership’ (or ownership-by-proxy) of Land. It’s not really an accessible form of art in some ways is it? But isn’t nature a preserve of the rich anyway though? The rich can afford to escape the concrete jungle and live lives in the countryside, and are the ones more likely to go hiking or amble along coastlines…
  • SO much of Land Art is about imprinting the human onto the landscape, even when it’s supposedly pro-environmental work. Is this not just an artistic extension of the Anthropocene? I think I’m interested in work where nature makes an imprint on the human?



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