About David Nash: Full Circle

David Nash has dedicated his artistic life to an evolving study of trees and wood. Through close observation and touch he has gained a rich and unique knowledge.

Full Circle marks the artist's long association with YSP that began over forty years ago. Nash had a residency at YSP in the early 1980s. In a related letter, he wrote that: “environment and ecology are a first consideration for me as an artist”. His work is more relevant than ever before as we try to address the climate crisis. Something that Nash has learned about trees, and a valuable lesson, is that “trees take just enough and give back more”. Drawing is as central and constant in Nash’s practice as the subject of trees it grows from. It is a way of understanding, of giving shape to ideas, recording and responding to forms from life. Much of the work in the Weston Gallery has not been shown before, including drawings dedicated to trees. These are presented alongside instensely-coloured abstract works that capture the essence of their life force. In the space they benefit from natural light and resonate with the far-reaching views.

Made over four decades, the range of drawings shows different ways of mark making. They include fine pencil lines to thick, smoky charcoal, as well as bold swathes of pure pigment applied with cloth. Some capture the immediacy of the way Nash works, often in the open air. Others are made in his studio and focus on a particular aspect, such as the colour in Red Tree (2021).

The Bothy Gallery will chart the artist's remarkable relationship with YSP. Films, archival photographs and works on paper reflect his residencies and works in the landscape. Nash will create a diagrammatic drawing, like a family tree, to show the links between the pieces and his wider career. The exhibition also creates an a circular walk that links the indoor exhibitions and outdoor installations.

Barnsley Lump and Three Stones for Three Trees were made during the artist’s first residency in 1981-82 and mark the time that has passed through erosion and growth respectively. Seventy-One Steps (2010) was made for the artist's major retrospective. It has been restored through charring and oil to reanimate the black surface of the oak sleepers that snake up the valley side.

Rarely have an institution and artist held a creative partnership over such an extended period of time.

There is a display of stencil prints in the YSP Centre, uniquely available to purchase through YSP, with proceeds supporting our charitable work. They relate directly to Nash's site-specific works at YSP. A range of bespoke merchandise, including a silk scarf, will also be available to buy.