Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 17:09 UK

Arch artwork forms major landmark

Striding Stones
The Striding Arches were officially launched in Dumfries and Galloway at the weekend

By Pauline McLean
BBC Scotland, arts correspondent

Artist Andy Goldsworthy has lived in Dumfries and Galloway for more than two decades.

And while his work is known internationally - and features in collections in New York, California and Colorado - it's not hard to see the influence this part of Scotland has had - from nearby Scaur Water which features in so many of his photographs, to the hills and stones around him.

But Striding Arches is the first of his works to be actually installed in the countryside on his own doorstep.

The four 12ft sandstone arches were officially unveiled at the weekend at Cairnhead, near Moniaive, by the artist and the various organisations who've worked in partnership with him - among them Cairnhead Community Forest Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association Public Art Team.

Andy Goldsworthy
Andy Goldsworthy has lived in the region for more than 20 years

Goldsworthy himself describes them as arches "intended to walk the hills alongside people" and that interaction was obvious as local fell walkers used them as markers in their race.

The arches are all made of local red sandstone - from the neighbouring Locharbriggs quarry - which has been historically exported all over the world.

They're practical landmarks as well as artistic ones, the fourth arch springs from a formerly derelict farm building known as the Byre, which now offers shelter as well as sculpture.

"What really matters is energy, the energy of the stone on the move in the landscape," says Goldsworthy.

They're more permanent than many of his works - which are often made of ephemeral materials like flowers, leaves, mud and sticks.

Speaking at the launch, Andy Goldsworthy said he first came to the area because it was cheap but thought the more interesting question now was why he'd decided to stay.

That, he said, was because of the landscape and the people, who accepted a penniless artist into their midst and continue to support him.

The Striding Arches - which have been five years in the making - grew out of his desire to do something positive for the community which was badly hit by the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.

They were previously on display in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but were always intended for the countryside near the artist's home.

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