David Nash At Kew Gardens - The Wood Quarry
David Nash sculpted a series of evolving artworks in the Wood Quarry at Kew Gardens between April and September 2012. This was the first time Nash had shown his process of making art as part of a major exhibition. It was also his first wood quarry in ten years.
Nash used chainsaws to work with the properties of wood and he worked with trees from Kew that had come to the end of their natural life. Through his sculpture, Nash investigates the nature of living trees and the unique characteristics and artistic possibilities of wood.
The Wood Quarry - an outdoor studio
Wood as material
Nash used trees from Kew that had come to the end of their life to make a new series of works in the Wood Quarry.
- Cork oak (Quercus suber) - the thick bark of the cork oak has been harvested for thousands of years.
- Large-leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos) - a giant among European trees, large-leaved lime can grow up to 35 m tall.
- Red oak (Quercus rubra) - originally stood on Cedar Vista, this red oak reached 22 m tall, with a canopy spread of 9 m.
- English oak (Quercus robur) - the most common forest tree in Britain, English oak has strong and durable timber.
- White ash (Fraxinus americana) - the timber of this tree is tough and springy, with excellent shock resistance.
- Common holly (Ilex aquifolium) - hard to work with, the timber of this tree is unusually hard and dense.
Created in the Wood Quarry
A selection of works produced in the Wood Quarry are now on display in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery.
New works in the Wood Quarry
Between April and September 2012, the Wood Quarry was the exhibition’s productive centre. Now you can enjoy two striking works.
Scuttlers being carved in the Wood Quarry.
The Wood Quarry at Kew Gardens was Nash's outdoor workshop – a work of art in itself – that took place over several months. A quarry delves into the Earth’s surface to extract a mineral; in his space, Nash quarries the tree as a vein of material to find his form.
The Wood Quarry offered Nash a dynamic and flexible creative process, by which to create new work. You can still visit the site and enjoy two large works, Cambium Column and Scuttlers, however Nash is no longer working physically on site.
Cambium Column being carved in the Wood Quarry.
Nash on the Wood Quarry
‘At Kew, I can show my practice as a sculptor. I’ve often felt that in the shows I’ve done before, much of the process is hidden. What’s unique about Kew is to make the process part of the exhibition.’
- David Nash -
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