Artist biography

English sculptor, land artist and draughtsman. He studied at Kingston College of Art (1963), Brighton College (BA, 1964–7) and Chelsea School of Art (MFA, 1969–70). In 1967 he moved to Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynned, a slate-quarrying village, motivated by a desire to escape the ‘unnecessarily competitive' metropolitan art world. As a student Nash became interested in the art and writing of China; other interests include the painting of Abstract Expressionist Arshile Gorky, as well as the theoretical implications of Minimalism, although he found much Minimalist work ‘completely devoid of the human spirit'. Nash's early works were in part a response to both Minimalism and the sculpture in the New Generation 65 exhibition (1965; London, Whitechapel A.G.), which included work by Philip King and William Tucker. From the late 1960s he developed his holistic approach to art; his first exhibition Briefly Cooked Apples (1973; York Festival) revealed his belief that his activity was a collaboration with nature. The free-standing sculptures were accompanied by a leaflet reproducing his sketches, including some of ways of ordering wood in bundles, stacks or rows. Wood became Nash's primary material, being used in both temporary and permanent land-based works; for Black Dome (1986) 900 lengths of charred larch formed a low dome (c. 7 m diameter) that would eventually be reabsorbed into the soil in the Forest of Dean, England. Nash also had numerous artist residencies in sculpture parks in England.

Sixty Seasons (exh. cat., ed. M. Tooby and C. Carell; Glasgow, Third Eye Cent.; Edinburgh, Fruitmarket Gal.; Llandudno, Mostyn A.G.; Swansea, Vivian A.G. & Mus.; Stoke-on-Trent, City Mus. & A.G.; 1983)
David Nash: Sculpture, 1971–90 (exh. cat., essay by N. Lynton, London, Serpentine Gal.; Cardiff, N. Mus.; Edinburgh, N.G. Mod. A.; 1990)
David Nash: Voyages and Vessels (exh. cat. by G. W. J. Beal, essay by Marina Warner, Omaha, NE, Joslyn A. Mus.; San Diego, CA, Mus. Contemp. A.; Honolulu, HI, Contemp. Mus.; 1994)

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