Jon Foreman, a land artist finds comfort in arranging stones into gorgeous formations on the beach. He calls this practice Sculpt the World and he turns everyday rocks into swirling patterns as well as giant circles containing an array of rainbow-esque hues. “This process is therapy to me,” Foreman tells My Modern Met. “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.”
Foreman lives in Wales in the town of Pembrokeshire. His home has an extremely generous coastline. “The beaches here are truly exceptional and there are so many,” he explains, “I doubt I’ve even visited half of them.” When he arrives at the beach he plans to be there working at his art for at least four hours. Typically he doesn’t know what the finished piece will look like. “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.” Not everyone would be excited to work without a plan but Foreman finds the unknown comforting. By having no preconceived notions of what he’ll create, he finds that he’s more likely to experiment and develop new facets of his work.
Designing with stone has taught Foreman some of its unexpected qualities. He’s noticed that rock, despite its solidity, changes when grouped; they become “malleable,” Foreman reveals. “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.”
Land art will eventually be reclaimed by the earth and the natural forces which created the very rocks he uses. “It often becomes a race towards the end as the waves draw closer,” Foreman says. “I try to stay to see the work get erased and capture the moment of impact.” It could be a poignant time, but Foreman chooses to see the beauty in his work’s short lifespan. “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.”