David Nash British, b. 1945

David Nash is a British sculptor and land artist born in Esher, Surrey in 1945.   Nash works only with wood from trees that have fallen naturally or been felled due to age, disease or safety.  Frequent motifs include eggs, columns, crosses and pyramids; his work is dominated by both organic and geometric shapes. In large-scale installations cork oak bark is stacked to make towering spires and circles, oak branches are burnt and placed in the ground to form low, convex structures and circles.

 

Nash studied at Kingston College of Art from 1963-67 and Chelsea School of Art in London from 1969-70.  In 1967 he moved to the remote village of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales, where he still lives and works.  Nash’s early work was seen as a response to minimalism, but from the late 60’s his art became more of a collaboration with nature.  He works mainly with wood which he carves (often with a chainsaw) and sometimes chars.  He also makes ‘living sculptures’ including Ash Dome; a collection of living ash trees planted in 1977 and coppiced to form a natural dome sculpture.  He treats the wood with great respect, allowing the natural qualities of each species to inform the final shape of the work. He now also casts sculptures in bronze. His charred wood forms have deep black, velvety surfaces contrasting with the rich natural tones and grains of the particular type of wood itself and are mimicked masterfully if cast in bronze. Alongside his sculpture he has always made drawings and stencil editions.

 

David Nash was elected a Royal Academician in 1999 and in 2004 received an OBE for services to the arts.  His sculpture Big Black won the prestigious Wollaston Award in the summer of 2016 at the Royal Academy, the same year he also won the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association’s March Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture for his work, Habitat.   He has had many international solo exhibitions throughout his career including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield; Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew; Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany and the Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan and in 2019 an extensive retrospective exhibition was held at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne.  Nash has works in over 80 major public collections around the world including the Royal Academy of Arts, London; Tate Gallery, London; Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.