Working With Nature…

David Nash is a sculptor that I have admired since studying at GCSE level (many!) years ago.  David works predominantly with wood, whether “dead” in his wood carving sculptures like Pyramid, Sphere, Cube or Boulder to when it is growing like with Ash Dome.

In Pyramid, Sphere, Cube, David has cut the shapes out of wood and then burnt its outer to charcoal to give it the blackness we can see.  He has then drawn the shapes in charcoal on the wall behind.  The repetition of the shapes echo the idea of shadows and bring a sense of presence to the work, making it more powerful to the viewer.

Boulder is one of my favourite pieces by David.  In this work he created a huge stone shaped piece from a felled tree and set it off on a journey downhill in a river.  The boulder was left to fend for itself against the elements, the river bed bashing against it, leaving its own mark, the water smashing around it, the seasons freezing and warming it.  Unfortunately the work has not been seen for a couple of years, last sighted in some sandbanks.  Some people think that it got washed out to sea, others think that it got buried by the sand.  I guess no one will ever know.  I like the idea that what has been taken from nature, is changed by nature and then returned to nature to do with it what it will.  It is an idea echoed in religion all over the world.

Ash Dome was the very first work I became aware of when I began researching artists for a project when still in school.  I was looking at creating a piece of work called “Workers”, honouring the mining heritage of the area that I’m from.  My teacher at the time suggested that I look at artists who work with nature and this is how I discovered David.  Ash Dome was created with Ash tree saplings and over time they have been bent and platted together to create a living dome, a space that David uses to think and ponder things.  I really like this work as it works with nature to create a calming room that lives and changes with the seasons.  In a society where we are used to taking things away from the environment to create “spaces” to live,think and call our own, David has created the same thing but without the need to destroy natural beauty.  This work is forever changing and growing and I like that it will never be the same from one year to the next.

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