Wednesday, 23 May 2018

David Nash: Wood • Metal • Pigment

I happened across this wonderful exhibition by happy accident whilst visiting the John Craxton In Greece exhibition at the Osborne Samuel gallery on the floor below (the subject of my last post), and it was curiosity, that led me to climb the stairs to Annely Juda on the floor above, where my nosiness was rewarded with these potent, mysterious wood and metal constructions by David Nash. Nash is a consummate craftsman knowing how best to fully exploit the grain and fissures in the wood that he works. Trees in the forests of their natural habitat have an inherent spirituality, all too aware perhaps of their precious role in the ecosystem of this planet. And although the trees depicted here are fallen and decapitated, Nash appears to resurrect that sense of living energy and spirit, giving new life through his artistic interventions on these timbers.

Ash Bark Dome

The centrepiece of the downstairs gallery is Cork Dome (2012), a large, wonderfully textural mound, constructed from slivers of cork bark. It is a self-contained craggy, maze. Both a citadel and refuge.

Oak Leaves Through May

Nine Cork Oaks

Tree Fern Dome

Red Around Black (2017), was one of my favourites in the exhibition, made from the trunk of a mighty Sequoia, with its coppery red-veined outer, cloaking a charred, velvety black interior. It was a majestic sculptural piece full of intrigue. That blackened interior had unspoken knowledge. It seemed to have a story to tell...   

Flame (2017), evoked religious connotations in my mind. The whole resembled a sculptural church/cathedral building. 

Whilst the top half was like a pair of praying hands from the angle photographed above. I envisioned Joan of Arc in the act of prayer for deliverance in the moments before she was engulfed and consumed by flames.

Cube, Sphere, Pyramid on a Shelf

Fire Carved Holly (2015). This piece demonstrates how very little needs to be done in terms of artistic intervention to improve on the sculptural shapes found in nature. 

Beech, Ash, Oak

Blue Column

Pagoda Column (2015), like many of Nash's pieces appears to be about achieving balance and equilibrium - man in harmony with nature. All of the pieces have a peaceful, meditative air to them.

In the upstairs gallery I really enjoyed the large scale of this coupling of King and Queen I (2011), which seemed to echo the similar male/female pairings of sculptors Lynn Chadwick and Henry Moore. 

Again the charred, patinated surface of Nash's royal pair was beautiful, and gave the piece an extra textural dimension.

Three Humps

I also admired the sharp, corten steel angles of Open Cross Box (2017), which again evoked more religious imagery in my mind, of that of the outer cassock/cloak of a bishop. Again this work gives off an aura of mystery, and also shelter. It is a haven, and sanctuary. An enfoldment of protection for all seeking spirituality and refuge from the troubles of a material world.

Green and Black II

Encased Cross


Ladle and Spoon

I discovered the exhibition on the day after the opening Private View, and was lucky to have these works, and the gallery space all to myself. In the upstairs gallery there was work in progress in the exhibition space, as workmen were busily engaged in boxing up some David Hockney paintings. And as I was leaving I was nearly squashed by more art handlers bringing in some figurative Paolozzi sculptures. I hope to visit again for a further look by which time the workmen should have packed up and gone.

Black in White, Black in Black: Column; Diagonal Striped Column; Diagonal Serrated Column

Diagonal Serrated Column

David Nash: Wood • Metal • Pigment
until 7th July
Annely Juda Fine Art
3rd and 4th floors
23 Dering Street
London W1S