W is for Winter

| February 18, 2014

At this point in what has been a very long, very snowy winter, I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that Spring, and its warmer weather, arrives soon. Tomorrow would even be preferable. But, as the forecast seems to be eluding that prospect as far as I can tell, I thought it might be helpful to look on the brighter side of this gloomy weather.

There are those out there who take aspects of nature during this season—snow and ice—and manage to transform them into art. I recently came across this article about artist Simon Beck, a man who will walk for miles in the snow, creating beautifully intricate patterns out of his footprints.

This reminded me of our Lines text, and Richard Long. What makes Beck’s art unique in the sense of creating lines and patterns in the snow is that there is no sense of permanency. His lines can vanish in as little as a few hours, and the only way to capture their aesthetic experience forever is through photography. Occasionally in the pattern of snowflakes, his beautiful pieces seem to mirror in form that of which they are composed.

Additionally, ice sculpting has taken on a form of its own. There are entire festivals dedicated to the craft, even here in NYC. Although ice may not be forever, the fact that it can be chipped away and molded, just as marble or stone can, has provided another way for nature’s beauty to be shaped by man’s hands in an aesthetic way. Not only are typical sculptures possible, but ice also becomes a structural tool for architecture and shaping entire ice buildings, such as the Jukkasjarvi IceHotel in Sweden:

Although, as per Dewey, the aesthetic experience can be felt from nature itself, man can further shape nature into more traditional types of art that many would agree fits the category. At any rate, it certainly becomes a little easier to appreciate all this snow and ice (at least in my book), when we see how it really can become an aesthetically pleasing experience.