British artist David Nash joyfully embraces the ongoing life and entropy of organic objects. The sculptures for which he is best know are made mostly from wood that has fallen naturally or been felled for practical reasons (age, safety, et cetera). After utilising air, fire, and water to alter the wood, the final works often remain in a state of flux, stretching and cracking as the aging process continues.Read More
David Nash studied at Kingston College of Art and Chelsea School of Art, London. He has travelled extensively throughout his life, first experimenting with his signature wood-charring style during a stay in Japan in the early 1980s. This charring technique blackens the surface of the wood and is utilised in pieces such as Scale Column (1999) to create works with a range of tones akin to charcoal on paper.
Many of David Nash's most famous works are ongoing as they continue to grow or decay. Wooden Boulder (1978—ongoing) is a rough sphere about three feet wide and made out of a 200-year-old oak tree. Nash has tracked, lost, rediscovered, and occasionally intervened in the boulder's path in the wild for more than 35 years.
In addition to his extensive sculptural practice, David Nash has a significant drawing practice, generally consisting of geometric abstractions executed in stencils or pastel on paper. Often more colourful than most of his sculptures, these drawings nevertheless echo his three-dimensional forms, with the stacked shapes of Yellow Stack (pastel stencil on paper; 2016), for example, recalling the stacked shapes of Blue Column (bronze, blue patina; 2018).
David Nash has been exhibited at prestigious galleries and institutions world-wide, including Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris (2016); Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids (2014); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2010); and Kunsthalle Mannheim (2009). His work is held in significant collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
David Nash was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1999. In the same year he was appointed a research fellow at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, and received an Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University London. He received an OBE in 2004 and lives and works in Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales.
Recent show include Galerie Lelong, Paris, 2014; Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2013; Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, United Kingdom, 2013; Galerie Lelong, Paris, 2012; Galerie Lelong, Zurich, Switzerland, 2012; Parc de sculptures du Yorkshire, Wakefield, 2012; Royal academy, London, 2010; and Abbot hall art gallery, Cumbria, 2009.
Nash was elected a Royal Academician in 1999, the same year in which he was appointed a Research Fellow, University of Northumbria, Newcastle and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Art & Design by Kingston University. He lives and works in North Wales.
Biography by Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2020
'Making art outside,' David Nash explains, 'is completely different from working inside.' He looks around the East Sussex drawing studio in which we are talking, and adds: 'In here we've got four walls, a flat floor and ceiling. We've neutralised the elemental forces. As soon as you go out there, you are dealing with slopes, wind, air, rain. You...