David Nash | Box Cross (2002)

David Nash, Box Cross, 2002Photo by Jo-Ann Conklin

David Nash David Nash
Box Cross, 2002

Charred oak
66" x 42" x 39"
Courtesy of Galerie Lelong

At Brown: 2002-2004
Installed on the List Art Building Green, College Street


David Nash, Box Cross, 2002Photo by Jo-Ann ConklinBrown’s first public art loan, Box Cross by British artist David Nash, was installed on the lawn of the List Art Building from 2002-2004. Cut as a singular structure, bearing a cross that recesses deeply into the slightly slanted top surface, Box Cross is a black monolith, a solitary object of solemn presence.

Nash is best known for his sculptures in wood and his environmental works situated in nature. He uses fallen tree trunks that he cuts, carves, burns, blasts, and sands into totem-like forms. Made variously from oak, elm, redwood, and lime wood, all found in Wales, Nash’s sculptures fluctuate between organic and geometric shapes and range in height from two to eight feet. The wood is often charred, which gives the surface a rich texture that is both rough and elegant. The process of charring, or burning, transforms wood into carbon, thus altering not only the surface texture, but also the basic nature of the material. When situating his work out-of-doors, Nash takes advantage of the natural processes of drying, discoloration, cracking, and warping, producing continually evolving works-in-progress that will all eventually degrade and return to the earth.

Nash often sketches with bits of charcoal left over from the burning process. At Brown, an exhibit of his drawings and related sculpture was mounted in the List Art Building lobby, while Box Cross was exhibited outside.