Sunday, May 16, 2010


British sculptor David Nash (1945 - ) has worked worldwide with wood, trees and the natural environment for thirty-five years. His large wood sculptures are sometimes carved or partially burned to produce blackening. His main tools for these sculptures are chainsaw and an axe to carve the wood and a blowtorch to char the wood. Nash also makes land art, of which the best known is Wooden Boulder, begun in 1978. This work involves a journey of large wooden sphere from a Welsh mountainside to the Atlantic Ocean. Wooden Boulder was carved by Nash in the North Wales landscape and left there to weather. Over the years the boulder has slipped, rolled and sometime been pushed through the landscape following the course of streams and rivers until finally it was last seen in the estuary of the river Dwyryd. Since then, it probably washed out to the Irish Sea, the sculptor has no idea of its location, and enjoys the notion that wood which grew out of the land will finally return to it. Nash is also known for sculptures which stay in the landscape. For example, Ash Dome is a ring of ash trees he planted in 1977 and was trained to form a domed shape. It's sited at a secret location somewhere in Snowdonia whenever it's filmed. Crews are taken there by a circuitous route to guard its security.
Since 1967 his sculpture has formed two distinctive groupings; sculptures which connect with the outside, the landscape of making and placements, and works which are presented inside, within and in relation to, architectural environments. The inorganic, non-allusive sculptures that Nash makes using unseasoned wood are based on the universal geometry of the cube, the sphere and the pyramid. He uses the directions of mark-making to his favored forms vertical for the cube, horizontal for the sphere, and diagonal for the pyramid. Although the innate character of the material is taken into account, and allowed to affect the outcome, he never allows it to dictate the sculpture's final identity. Nash once again uses burners at times to char the wood, transforming the material through blackening. Nash’s best work displays a relentless—and occasionally fulfilled—ambition to connect with both the ancient and modern energies of his art form.
David Nash is represented by Annely Juda Fine Art, London; Galerie LeLong in Paris, Zurich and New York; Galerij S65, Aalst, Belgium; Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo and the Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

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images: (click on images to enlarge)
Through the Trunk up the Branch 1985 (top)
Large Sphere, charred oak 1997 (2nd)
Rising Crack & Warp Column, Tilleul/Lime tree 2003 (3rd)
Panel, charred oak 2001 (4th)
Red and Black triptyque, works on paper 2009 (bottom)

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