press release

David Nash (b 1945) is an artist of individuality and distinction. Internationally renowned for working with wood to form large dramatic and tactile sculptures, this new exhibition highlights the distinctive geometric theme in Nash's work. The act of cutting, so integral a part of Brancusi’s ambitions as a sculptor, soon became Nash’s favoured way of working. But wood was his sole material, hewn from unseasoned trees, the forms assumed were primary, based on the fundamental geometry of the cube, the sphere and the pyramid. Nash warms to the universality of these shapes; they belong to no one, and cannot be violated. In his mind, the cardinal directions for mark-making apply to his favoured forms: vertical for the cube, horizontal for the sphere, and diagonal for the pyramid. While recognising Plato’s theory that we know these forms from the spiritual world, Nash feels that geometry has been deadened by materialism and that ‘there is a task to re-enliven its experience’. He still sees making art as a religious activity, even if his boyhood Anglicanism was long ago supplanted by a non-denominational interest in all faiths, Buddhism in particular. He believes passionately in the sanctity of free will, and applies it continually in his engagement with the interaction between human consciousness and nature.

Characterised by inorganic, non-allusive form present in his sculpture from the early wooden constructions in the 1960s to the present day, the exhibition includes an exciting range of works including eight major sculptures exploring the sphere, pyramid, cube and column, as well as a gestural wall drawing that accompanies the premiere of a film documenting Boulder, a work of land art begun in 1978. The film charts the passage over 26 years of this large wooden sphere from the interior landscape of North Wales across the Dwyryd Estuary and on into the Atlantic Ocean. Shown in the context of the Modernist school of artists, the exhibition reconsiders Nash’s process and philosophy and offers an exciting new dynamic to the presentation of his work.

As part of Artists on Artists, three works from the Tate Collection by Alberto Giacometti, who Nash cites as an influence, will be shown alongside the exhibition. Pressetext

David Nash
Supported by the Henry Moore Foundation