by Claudia Chapline, Stinson Beach
In the 1960s, earth artists began working with the landscape as object to be manipulated for aesthetic use. The most well known examples of Earth Art are Spiral Jetty and Lightning Field. The latest environmental art movement is Eco-Art. Ecological artists are working with natural systems to encourage restoration of habitat. This month the Bolinas Museum features the work of Daniel McCormick in the exhibition, Sculpting the Land, opening January 19 and continuing through March 2.
McCormick was once a student of James Turrell, earth and light sculptor, now famous for his work on Roden Crater in Arizona. Armed with a degree in environmental design from UC Berkeley, McCormick set out to go beyond witnessing and documenting environmental change. His work is a positive intervention working toward restoring ecological balance. McCormick’s work is watershed sculpture, primarily basket forms of woven willow. His sculptures are made from materials found in the watershed. The sculptures are placed strategically to stabilize stream banks or fit into the curves of the streams and gullies where they fill with leaves and twigs, collecting sediment that would otherwise suffocate the salmon and steelhead eggs in their spawning areas. The exhibition has process sketches, site plans, models, construction drawings, as well as large sculptures. McCormick works mostly in Marin, with students, the National Park Service, and the County. The sculptures gradually disintegrate, returning to the earth. McCormick’s Eco-Art is a collaboration with the community on public lands.