Alan Sonfist: History and the Landscape
Alan Sonfist was among the very first artists in the late 1960s to conceive of ecological and environmental functions as the subject matter of aesthetic creation. Unlike the earth artists of the 1960s and 1970s who saw the landscape as a field for formal modification, Sonfist has been concerned with preservation and renewal of the environment. His principal strategy has been to provide actual examples of the natural environment that existed prior to human intervention. To this end, Sonfist in the 1960s developed the “time park” and the “narrative park,” actual natural settings which use period vegetation and plantings that evoke in artful fashion the history of specific sites. Sonfist’s repertory of form and material is wide, ranging from rock and metal structures to earth cores, mud paintings, earth tiles, bronze castings of tree forms and, most recently, collage paintings of species of endangered trees.