David Nash: Colour for Seasons and Colour for Forms
David Nash’s (b.1945) work is based almost exclusively on his observations of nature and the rural landscape around his home in Wales. Largely known for his work in sculpture, he primarily works with wood; copses are grown and manipulated to form domes and grids of saplings; fallen trees are carved and charred to make sculpture. His pastel stencils which should be seen in dialogue with his wider practice, reflecting the natural formations and shapes of his sculptures, are made in his studio in the remote village of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales.
Nash comments, “Works on paper have always been a part of my practice. I have been to print workshops when invited but found the time constraint a pressure and the complex techniques didn’t suite my nature. I needed a simpler basic method I could do in my own studio without all that equipment.
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 has annotated each edition below, describing his source of inspiration, which includes the changing colours of oak leaves, a shadow cast by a cherry tree branch, weathered tree trunks and shade under a tree on a summer’s day.
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David Nash on Blue Shade, 2019.
David Nash on Grey Holed Column, 2019.
The 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. All the trees went through this colour change over ten to fourteen days. Later the leaves became a dark waxy green as they engaged in the summer long work of photosynthesis. I worked through my colour range and finding more pastels locally I found the colours that represented this colour evolution."
David Nash on Oak Leaves in May 1, 2019.
David Nash on May, 2020.
David Nash on Red Wall, 2019.
David Nash on Red Stack, 2020, and Blue Stack II, 2020.
In the Studio
Photos by Sam Clayton, David Nash Studio. (Instagram: @sam.e.clayton)
About the artist
David Nash (b. 1945)
David Nash, born in Esher, Surrey, is one of Britain's most prolific sculptors and land artists. He studied at Kingston College of Art, Kingston, from 1963 to 1967 and at Chelsea School of Art, London, from 1969 to 1970.
Forthcoming projects for 2021 include an exhibition in the summer at Grizedale Arts, Cumbria, and an exhibition of drawings at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the autumn.