Earth Art: Buster Simpson, Christy Rupp, Vaughn Bell, Richard Long, Brightwater Treatment System


Post comments


Buster Simpson's photograph collection "Ice Blade" shows the true beauty of man made ice. The description tells the reader how the ice in the polar ice caps is melting and how man is able to create ice with little effort. It tells the reader how the polar ice caps are melting, and how that humans are now at the tipping point of global ice disappearing. "Ice Blade" is a series of pictures of a slanted pole which changes colors to represent the aurora borealis. Buster Simpson ingeniously captured images of "Ice Blade" at night to show its rapid color changes.

While looking over Buster Simpson’s website, I clicked on the link for ping-pong plaza and there was multiple images of ping pong tables in a plant filled commons area of a building. It is a place for people to come together and interact with each other, as it says in the description. The table is made of bronze and stainless steels and is oddly shaped. It is far from a conventional ping pong table. The artist is trying to convey the message of connecting with people and making connections over a similar interest. I also visited Richard Long’s website and his had the most interesting website of them all. He does sculptures from landscapes. I looked at ‘a circle in the Andes’ and it shows a black and white landscape of snow-capped mountains in the background. There is a circle of strategically places stones in the center of the picture. I’m not sure what the artist is trying to express but it sure it a beautiful scene. It is simple but so pretty. I looked at Vaughn Bell’s work and I found it surprisingly fun! I looked at his work called ‘Metropolis’. It is floating clear boxes suspended from the ceiling and within the boxed is an in depth view of nature. There is grass, dirt, plants, etc. You can place your head into the box and be immersed into nature from a different point of view – the floor of the box. I think that this is such a cool idea because as humans, we are taller and we do not usually look at the world from the ground up but rather at eye level and this project makes you see nature in a detailed way. It makes you appreciate the small things.

After looking at all five websites I found Richard Long's work stuck with me the most. I took time appreciating all five artists and their work, but Richard Long's caught my attention through his designs and meanings. His work was very intriguing by how he assembled them and there was a lot of creativity behind them yet they were simple and clean designs. Common themes in his art include paths, circles, and nature of course. To be honest after looking at many of his pieces I tried really hard to figure out their meaning, but couldn't figure it out. They didn't include descriptions just titles. But maybe Long's intention was to keep it open for interpretation. I think that's why I got caught up in his work much more than the others, because his designs were very creative and hard to figure out the meanings behind them. One of my favorite pieces of his work was "White Hand Swirls." It was five curvy paths made out of white sand, but the sand was swirled around by fingers. I still can't quite explain why he created it, but it got me thinking and I walked away from it with an appreciation for the mystery within art.

All five of the websites we had to visit had unique and different pictures. However the one website and artist that stuck out to me the most was Buster Simpson. All of his photos were simple and showed images of everyday life that most people just walk by and do not notice the way Simpson did.The first image that stuck out to me was Aerie. Aerie is a collection of twenty stones that make a tetrahedral. If found this picture interesting for many reasons.The stones are in front of what seems to be like a building. The sun reflects off of the top of the building while making the stones in the picture the main focus of the picture. There is a lot going on in this picture but the way the stones are stacked up make it a focal point. Another group of photos I found interesting was the group titled ping pong plaza. These photos taken at a plaza where there is a ping pong table. What makes these photo interesting to look at is the way the light comes in from the windows with the small bushes blocking the windows. Also with the purple ground the ping pong table is sitting on makes the shadows and lighting interesting to look at.

Earth Art
The website I spent the most time on was Christy Rupp’s. I chose the “Clean Water” artwork to research on. The work that caught my attention was the “Turning Milk into Water,” these was a picture and brief description of how NYC “has transformed the chief export of the region from milk into water.” The city is now placing more restrictions on the area in which benefits the upstate and city dwellers. NYC is going to build a $7 billion filtration plant. Rupp paints on old milk bottles to create his own dairy. He says that these are empty of milk and now filled with tap water from NYC. On his bottles he exposes phrases and symbols to express the meaning of NYC not having milk. The land at the bottom of the valley is well drained giving them a major source for water. Since this is where the farms once were, NYC decided to get ride of a lot of milk producers and start to filter up the water. I personally do not know what it is like to be a farmer. But the fact that they pulled away the physical community of farm towns I find unacceptable. I personally believe that farms should not have been messed with and they could have gotten water from around the farms.

Out of the 5 websites, Buster Simpson's caught my eye the most. I found that many of his pictures were really impressive. The picture that caught my eye the most was Tempe Light Rail Transit Bridge. There are many striking features of this picture. What really catches the eye the most is the colors. The colors on the bridge are so vibrant and they stick out so easily. The location of this bridge I think is what gives it its pop. The colors are beautiful on the bridge but when they reflect off the water they are even more magnificent. The colors of the bridge are what define it and also what make it unique from all the other bridges.

"Parable" by Buster Simpson is a sculpture of cast iron pear shaped objects connected by steel cables. This sculpture represents the dynamics of change. I personally don't find much in the piece of art about change. I see a strange array of movement throughout it in the way that the pears are connected. Richard Long explains his works as photos taken along walks. Art is about mobility, lightness, and freedom. In Christy Rupp's "Vanishing Bird Collections" there are very detailed collages of birds, landscapes, plants, and many random objects. I think she might want to get a message across about chaos in our world. If not this, then I'm confused as to what she is trying to portray. Vaughn Bell's surrogate mountain piece is a way of bringing nature with you anywhere. He shows how to create your own Mt. Rainier. The pattern of clouds can sometimes obscure the view of the mountain. The "surrogate Mt. Rainier" is his alternate to this problem, giving you a stable mountain right at your feet.

My favorite piece of artwork from any of the four collections is called the Ping Pong Plaza, by Buster Simpson. I am emotionally attached to ping pong because I used to have a table in my basement and I have played the game ever since I was a small child. This piece is especially pleasing to me because it brings together a sense of community. The plaza invites workers to come and enjoy lunch, relax with a game of ping pong (which isn’t so relaxing when the games get intense!) and gather people from all over the neighborhood. The Ping Pong Plaza would be a great place to throw a party for a child or an adult, and I wish I could go there. The table stands outside, made out of stainless steel, but the pictures on Simpson’s website make it same as if the table is located in a nicely lit room. Next time I hear of someone making a trip out to Seattle, I will advise them to stop by Merck Rosetta Laboratories and check out the Ping Pong Plaza.

After looked at the all four websites, Vaughn Bell gave me the deepest impression.I looked at the project of "Biosphere" and "Becoming a river." I thought it was interesting for the biosphere that people was able to put their head in the little glass house to take a look the green from such special posisiton and close distance. We always walk above our land, but the biosphere green house gives people a chance to look at our land differently, and have a sense that we are not above our land, and we should respect our land. Moreover, the project of "becoming a river" is beautiful. I like the "life becomes a River" the most. The artist was not only using rice straw, fabric, and wood, but also two video projections with light and sounds to create a wonderful scenes. The "light circle" with in the rice straw was shining in the dark, and the projections were showing someone washing their hand; it looked real with the sound of water. Vaughn Bell's earth art used the most common things in the nature like rice straw and stone, but it surprised me how beautiful they were.

The art figure "Moment" from Buster Simpson's collection was one that caught my attention. It sort of reminded me of the figure in the STSS building. I just really like the shape of it and the idea of the double helix. I just believe that it's a nice piece to look at and observe. Another piece that caught my attention was Ice Blade. It's a nice piece to look at and it gives us something to think about as well. The question asks, "Are we at the threshold of a starting line or a tipping point both globally and locally?" I didn't necessarily understand what this question meant entirely but I think whatever it is, the art form "Ice Blades" symbolizes the question very well bc of the tipping motion that the statue is in. These were the two that struck my interest the most.

After looking at all the websites my favorite artwork had to be Richard Long’s work. Long’s art is simplistic but very meaningful. He uses stone, mud, and wood to make his art, which consistent of shapes such as circles, lines, crosses, and spirals. Long says that his art is a represent of balance between the patterns of nature and the characteristics of humans. Another element that is cool about Long’s art is that the materials he uses for his art are stones that he gets on his travels. One of his works that stood out to me was “A Circle in Antarctica” because the back part the picture is all snow, then the front part is rock with chunks of ice/snow Long took and put in a circle. It’s really interesting to see how the landscape changes suddenly from stone to ice and snow. So I think that is why Long might have made a circle of ice/snow on the stone part of the land. This art is what is called Long’s ‘landscape’ art, where he takes the material stone or ice/snow in this case, and places in a shape, then leaves it there. He doesn’t make huge alterations to the land; he just marks it as he passes through. Altough I don’t really get it, Long stresses meaning of his work lay in the visibility of his actions rather than in the representation of a particular landscape. The reason Long uses circles and lines is because he says that they belonged in some way or other to all people at all times; they are universal and timeless.

While I was observing the work from the five websites my interest leaned toward Christy Rupp's pieces. I noticed that in many of her paintings she uses a photograph of something as the focus and center of the painting. Around the photograph is detailed hand-crafted art. The structure of the picture as a whole made me think of the real world as the center of our life but then around reality we have our own perceptions of the world and they could be drawn differently for every person. Although there are no blank spaces in the piece it is clear to understand the message of the image. It is very unique how she structured her own perception of the world then a photograph of reality within two frames which made me drawn to it immediately.

After viewing Buster Simpsons artwork I have to say that the most interesting one to me was the Moment because of the shape and the style it has this was one the caught my attention. I also liked how the beacon lights light up at night this reminds me of a big chandelier in a mansion. The double helix caught my attention because of how many loops their were this was a little entertaining.


Looking at the websites, I came upon one very interesting art work on the Buster Simpson website. The art piece that I took a liking to was called "Incidence." I thought that the making and description of it was simply amazing, the result of the phenomena recalls the myth of the winter solstice "spirit door between our world and the dead". I just thought that this was an interesting way of viewing it. When I first glanced at how the sky was diffracted through the glass I just thought it was a cool way to change how things looked. The image created from the glass seemed like it was distorted and more interesting, the the image was upside down. From this, to be able to properly place the glass in the correct positions make it more interesting for me because I understand the level of difficulty it must have been. Its hard enough for me to make domino's stand up.


It was very interesting to see how different each artist was just by looking at their artwork. For example Buster Simpson seemed to mostly photograph buildings or objects. He photographed things in views that we tend to see everyday. My favorite photos were of the Carbon Veil. I found the photos beautiful with all the different colors. The architecture of the building is very intriguing. The next artist's website I looked at was Christy Rupp. Her work was mostly of the skeletal look of different animals, focusing on birds. It was a different approach at artwork I am not very used to seeing, but also was interesting. Personally I liked Richard Long's artwork the best. One thing I noticed as I was looking through the different pieces was that almost every single one had the shape of a circle in it. Most of his photos also had neutral colors. What I got out of it was that even though landscapes may look alike they are actually very different and each have their own uniqueness to them.

the one piece of art that i saw that really caught my eye when looking at busters website was the double helix because of the way the colors connected together it was a very cool piece of work also i liked the beacon lights and how they lit up the whole picture. but i would say my favorite was the light rail bridge, it was truly a work of art the colors combined so nicely together it really caught my eye. the style that was used in these art pieces was very cool to me and i am glad i was able to look at them all.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on October 8, 2013 10:19 AM.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) visit was the previous entry in this blog.

"Introduction" [The Omnivore's Dilemma] - Michael Pollan; "Can We Feed the World & Sustain the Planet?" - Jonathan Foley; "Redefining Agricultural Yields" - E. Cassidy, et al is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.