David Nash: Trees

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The relationship between David Nash and Trees dates back more than half a century. When the artist moved to North Wales at the end of the 1960s, it was because he had found an inexpensive home and studio in an old chapel and shepherd’s hut, but also because he knew that there he would find raw and vigorous nature, where the vegetal and the mineral have lived in harmony for centuries. While his sculptures are formed from trees – trunks, junctions, branches – he also knows how to plant, observe and draw specimens both young and old, in all seasons, every year, without getting bored, rediscovering all the variety of each spring or autumn. This is the inspiration for his paintings with their reds and blues and powerful green of these venerable, wrinkled, ageless trunks he calls “Rembrandt”. They are also the source of the multicoloured evocation of summer vegetation in the works entitled “July”. The energy captured and released by the vibrantly colourful drawings is that of Nash’s sculptures themselves: a deep appreciation of the power of Nature combined with a firm yet supple hand.

David Nash
Red Tree, 2019
Pastel on paper
103 x 67 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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David Nash
Red Tree, 2019
Pastel on paper
76 x 57 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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David Nash
Tree in May, 2019
Pastel on paper
76 x 57 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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David Nash
Tree in May, 2019
Pastel on paper
76 x 57 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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"Blossom on blackthorne was particularly abundant last May. An observation and a delight that prompted finding the colours and gestures to celebrate their splendour."

- David Nash on the series Tree in May

David Nash
Silhouette Tree, 2018
Pigment on paper
57 x 76 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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David Nash
White Tree, 2019
Pigment on paper
102 x 130 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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David Nash
Silhouette Tree, 2018
Pigment on paper
57 x 76 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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David Nash
Rembrandt, 2018
Charcoal on paper
76 x 57 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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"This drawing is one of a series of charcoal drawings of a charred beech sculpture. During the making of the sculpture I scraped off the thick charred surface revealing cracks caused by the heat that enhanced the form and with more carving emphasised this more. The scraping created a deep warm umber colour and mood to the piece. My wife on seeing said it that it was like a “Rembrandt”! This became its working title and it stuck."

David Nash
Rembrandt, 2018
Charcoal on paper
76 x 57 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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David Nash
July, 2020
Pastel on paper
99 x 67 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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David Nash
July, 2020
Pastel on paper
99 x 67 cm
© David Nash / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

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"Each season I experience as a colour mood. Thinking about this in July last year, I focused on finding a form for the observation and marked down the colours that seemed appropriate. Just these simple marks alone seemed to hold the essence of “July”. I just needed to find the right tones, chromatic density and volume of each colour mark and place them to make visual music. This was the first time for me to enter such an abstract endeavour. The idea needed much more nuance and subtlety than the simplicity I had assumed. “Simplicity is complexity resolved” (Brancusi)."

- David Nash on the series July

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