There is always something that gives us comfort. For Jon Foremen, a land artist finds his comfort in arranging stones in various formations up and down the beach. Sculpt the Work, Jon’s practice, showcases a variety of rock patterns ranging from swirling patterns to giant circles with stones of rainbow-like hues. In an interview, Foreman says: “This process is therapy to me. The simple act of placing stone upon stone in the sand is very therapeutic. I’m sure we all enjoy a walk on the beach but this process I find to be more immersive; being there in nature, losing myself in the work, having left behind all the stresses of day to day life.”
Hailing from Pembrokeshire in Wales, Foreman has access to miles of coast, and he goes on to explain: “The beaches here are truly exceptional and there are so many. I doubt I’ve even visited half of them.” When he goes to the beach, he usually spends around 4 hours on his creation, with only partial planning with regard to what the final outcome would look like. He states that: “Sometimes I will have an idea of what I’d like to try but I very rarely draw it out fully. I quite like not knowing exactly how it will turn out until it’s there in front of me.” Although the thought of working without a plan sounds intimidating, for some people like Foreman, there is a sort of comfort in the unknown. Since he has no knowledge of what he will create, he experiments and develops new sides of his work.
Foreman has identified some of their unexpected qualities while creating arranging stones. He reveals that although solid, stones change and become “malleable” when grouped together. “There are so many ways of working with stone; the color, the size, the shape the angle it is placed, the direction it faces, endless possibilities. Although stone isn’t my only material of choice, it is currently my favorite as it presents so many different opportunities.”
As land art is ephemeral, or short lived, it will be reclaimed by earth eventually, as it is where it came from. Forman states: “It often becomes a race towards the end as the waves draw closer. I try to stay to see the work gets erased and capture the moment of impact.” Although it is short-lived, the artist always sees the beauty in his creations. “I create using material that is made from that environment for that environment. The tide washes it all back to the tide line, and I come back the next day with an empty canvas to work with. People often ask if it bothers me that the work has to disappear eventually. To that, I say: not at all. If anything the fact that it’s short-lived makes it more special to me.”