David Nash

Biography of David Nash

Britain’s best loved land artist and sculptor, David Nash, has made a name for himself by working with trees of all sorts and creating out of them colossal sculptures. Born in 1945 in Surrey, England, he then went on to attend the prestigious Chelsea School of Art. From his earlier artistic endeavours, even as a student, natural materials—primarily wood—were always at the core of his work.

 

David Nash has been known for his highly innovative use of such materials in sculptural, location based projects that thoroughly explore the wonders of the natural world. In 1977, the artist created one of his most celebrated artworks, Ash Dome. Clearing an area of land in Northern Wales (where he was living, and still lives), David Nash planted and trained a circle of twenty-two ash trees to grow in a vortex. To this day, the trees continue to grow and the exact location of the site has remained a secret since its initial execution—an ode to the artist’s long term mission of protecting the delicate environment of his beloved Welsh countryside.

 

Though always committed to incorporating wood and natural elements in his art practice, David Nash has been praised for his skilled use of heavy equipment such as blow torches and chainsaws. Using these, he has morphed his small scope of materials into fascinatingly unexpected shapes. In 2010, the artist famously melded two gargantuan stumps of eucalyptus into a solid square in the work Oculus Block, which quickly became a must-see piece of the renowned Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

 

David Nash has honed an extensive career, and now in his mid 70s continues to explore his endless fascination for nature through his works on paper. Depicting essentially abstracted trees—their trunks, branches, reflections, and shadows—the artist has proven to be a skilled print maker with his stencil work, and has demonstrated an elegant hand in charcoal and pastels.

 

A large proportion of the artist’s work holds its place in nature; in undisclosed locations, in rivers of North Wales, or even in organic sheep farms of Virginia in the USA. However, David Nash’s sculptures have also been exhibited in high-profile locations such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew just outside of London, and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands. In 1999, David Nash was elected a Royal Academician, and in 2004 he was awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to the arts.

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