Based on Nash’s observations of nature and the rural landscape around his home in Wales, the works, which include depictions of trees, crags, and the changing seasons, foster in us, at a time of urgent ecological concern, a deeper understanding of the elements of the natural world.
New pastel stencil editions, displayed alongside those made over the past ten years, are made by Nash in his studio in the remote village of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales. Nash explains; “Works on paper have always been a part of my practice. I use a specific thickness of plastic sheet and an extremely sharp scalpel. The pastel is applied by rubbing it into a fleece pad and then rubbing the loaded pad over the stencil. The result is then fixed. I have a studio specifically set up for this. The process is very dusty and requires efficient masks and frequent hand washing.”
Nash’s practice is a collaboration between the artist, his material and the natural world. The stack and the column are forms that have been of great interest to Nash throughout his career as a sculptor and appear in his pastel stencil editions. Red Stack, 2020, and Blue Stack II, 2020. These originated from watching a shadow of a cherry branch in leaf on a terrace floor continually changing as the branch shadow moved in the wind. A memory of shade under a tree, also inspired Blue Shade, 2019.
Nash’s choice of colour is informed by his observations of the changing seasons. Oak Leaves in May 1 and 2, 2019, are inspired by Nash’s constant awareness of the oak trees which he passes on a daily basis. Nash comments; "I noticed when daily passing a stand of oaks in May that the leaves were just starting to emerge from their buds. Some of the oaks were more advanced than others. Ones coming later were very small and an amber gold, and the ones more advanced were a little larger and yellow. As the days passed the early oak leaves grew larger and progressed to a light green as the chlorophyl evolved and then to a deeper green. I worked through my colour range and finding more pastels locally I discovered the colours that represented this evolution."
Whether it be sculpture, installation or drawing, Nash continues to engage with the forces of nature to dictate the direction that his creations will take, providing pause for thought at the unique temporality of the natural world.
Sculptures, drawings, and photographs by Nash are currently on show in a solo exhibition entitled David Nash: Return to Grizedale at Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, until 12 December 2021. A solo exhibition of David Nash's drawings opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, from 19 February - 5 June 2022.
If you would like to receive a full preview of the exhibition works, including the works described above, please contact the gallery via [email protected].
In the Studio
Photos by Sam Clayton, David Nash Studio. (Instagram: @sam.e.clayton)
Further David Nash exhibitions
In the Press: "My early interest was putting colour into space."
David Nash: Full Circle
About the artist
David Nash (b. 1945)
David Nash is a British sculptor and land artist, born in Esher, Surrey in 1945. He studied at Kingston College of Art from 1963 to 1967, and at Chelsea School of Art from 1969 to 1970. In the late 60s, he moved out of London to the remote village of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales, where he is still based. Nash’s early work was seen as a response to Minimalism, but from the late 1960s he developed a more holistic approach, where he saw his art as a collaboration with nature. He mainly works with wood, which he grows, carves (using a chainsaw), and sometimes chars. He now also cast his sculptures in bronze.
Alongside his sculpture practice he has always made drawings and more recently, stencil editions. Nash was elected a Royal Academician in 1999 and awarded on OBE in 2004. His sculpture Big Black won the prestigious Charles Wollaston Award at the 2016 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, the same year he also won the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association’s March Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture for Habitat. Nash has work in over 80 public collections worldwide