I imagine it is difficult to make environmental art of this type without being compared to Andy Goldsworthy. However, I believe Martin Hill’s work is quite unique. Since 1992 and often in collaboration with Philippa Jones, New Zealand-based Hill has focused his art practice on “making environmental sculptures in nature that return to nature.” The photographs are all that remain of the environmental sculptures, which are often visually simple but complex to create, as well as powerful and emotive. Placement, movement or lack thereof, footprints and evidence of the artist’s role in the creation–everything is intentional and sensitive to timing and nature’s own will. A repeating motif in Hill’s work is the circle, which I find beautiful both visually and symbolically.
From Hill’s artist statement: “For me making this body of work is my way of connecting with nature to tell the story of the transition that is underway now towards a circular economy that emulates the way nature works. Nature is sustainable by design. Fueled by sunlight everything is recycled: all waste becomes food for something else. In the new circular economy businesses and social systems are designed with principles learned from natural systems. Innovations using what is available locally run on renewable energy in cooperative relationships with one another, these cyclical systems eliminate waste and deliver multiple benefits and jobs. They out compete existing harmful models making them obsolete. What has art got to do with this? Changing to a new model of progress that does not destroy the living world on which life relies, requires us to use a new way of thinking. I believe art can help trigger this change and inspire us to look at problems as opportunities for innovation from which multiple beneficial outcomes increase well-being for all.”
All images © Martin Hill