The human “shell”, outward appearance, or the external form merely distinguishes us from others. Deep inside each of us exists the moral fiber of who we really are. Nash’s visual representations of the body work metaphorically and methodically to explore the masculine and feminine form- these works reveal the essential “spirit” of man. - Nash
"African Nouveau” is the term I use to describe my present body of work. It's specifically African and European in influence. While the images are African, in general, the concept is 15th century Benin with the graceful, slender proportions and long, undulating lines of 18th century Art Nouveau. In his pieces, Nash achieves his goal of integrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics to yield striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality. Both styles were often asymmetrical, using decorative shapes and ornamental motifs derived from natural forms. The two styles lend themselves well to each other, hence, the term "African Nouveau".
In the tradition of the great masters, Woodrow Nash's consuming passion to elevate the human spirit takes the form of sculptures. He builds a sense of mystery and charisma into each sculpture. Through his pieces, Nash achieves his goal of integrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics to yield striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality.
Nash’s sculptures transmit human delicacies and inner harmony. Examining the contemporary male and female physique, he explores the body's natural form and mythology. Incorporating various styles and techniques utilizing stoneware, earthenware, terracotta or porcelain, Nash's work is fired electronically, pit fired or via a "raku" effect - creating an "African Nouveau" trademark that's solely his own.
Today, the work of Woodrow Nash is collected internationally. His collectors' demographics have no racial boundaries, and include everyone from working professionals to affluent sports figures and entertainment superstars.
Woodrow Nash Bio
Woodrow Nash's recent sculptural works present the lure and mystery of our past and present reflections. The cut out eyes of his majestic clay figures gaze deep within the historical context of art history as well as carving out new path ways with Nash's sculptural techniques. The range of colors and textures bring Nash's life-like beings down to earth to be observed and reflected upon. His stylized African portraits evoke the 15th century Benin concepts of graceful slender proportions and undulating lines of 18th century Art Nouveau. In his works Nash achieves his goal of intergrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics to yeild striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality.
Incorporating various styles and techniques Nash utilizes stoneware, earthenware, terracotta and porcelain. The sculptures are then fired electronically using a pit firing technique giving the sculptures a "raku" effect; creating an "African Nuveau" trademark that is solely his own. Each sculptural figure is unique and strikes an individual pose of poetic grace and refined detail — each telling their own story.
Nash's work has traveled both nationally and internationally with collectors that range from working professionals to high profile celebrities. Angela King Gallery is honored to present the sculptural art works of Woodrow Nash.
Woodrow Nash Creates Art for Celebrities and Everyday People
African-American Artist Woodrow Nash Creates Art for Celebrities, Everyday People Alike
WEBWIRE – Friday, October 21, 2005 (AKRON, Ohio) – Woodrow Nash has always wanted one thing in life: to create art. For more than 30 years, the talented sculptor has gotten his wish. He is able to spend his days working on his amazingly lifelike works of art and, as an added bonus, his creations are collected internationally by celebrities, athletes and working professionals alike.
His signature style, which he has affectionately coined African Nouveau, combines 15th century Benin and 18th century French Nouveau characteristics into a stunning fusion of realistic lines and curves.
“My style is my own,” Nash said. “It comes from my passion to create realism in sculpting the human form.”
Whether he uses stoneware, earthenware, terracotta or porcelain, Nash’s sculptures reflect a unique style that attracts buyers from all walks of life. But, at an investment often in the range of $10,000 to $20,000 for the life-size pieces, many buyers include professional athletes, musical stars and Hollywood actors.
Nash’s pieces, combining his style and vision of the human form, have become favorite collector’s items in many million-dollar homes. With trends leaning toward flowing lines and unique materials, Nash’s pieces are a perfect complement to the expertly designed homes of the stars. Celebrities and athletes flock to buy Woodrow Nash pieces, among them Katie Couric, Tina Knowles and Smokey Robinson.
Nash is also a favorite among interior designers around the nation who use his art as focal points throughout homes that they decorate.
“I personally feel that each individual piece has its own character and is both original and unique,” said Stephanie Gowdy, an interior designer based out of Atlanta. “My clients like pieces that are ‘different’ and Woodrow’s sculptures always make a statement.”
Gowdy’s clients include pro-athletes such as Ashley Ambrose of the New Orleans Saints, Ken “The Hammer” Hamlin with the Seattle Seahawks and Ray Buchanan of the Oakland Raiders.
“Ken Hamlin gave me control of the project while he was on the road, and when I told him that I had found a piece that would remind him of himself, he was skeptical,” Gowdy reminisces. “When he saw Woodrow’s sculpture, he jumped across the room with a huge smile on his face. He kept rubbing the piece because it seemed so real.”
Aside from their value as conversation pieces, Nash’s work is collectible – something Gowdy knows firsthand.
“I own four pieces of Woodrow’s work,” Gowdy said. “When my daughters graduated college and got their own places, I gave each of them a Woodrow Nash piece to start their collections.”
In addition to his celebrity clients, working professionals have long been admirers of Nash’s work. Whether it’s an account executive from Arizona or an engineer from the East Coast, businesspeople flock to buy Nash’s startling lifelike pieces of art.
Jim Perkins, a retired business executive from Memphis, Tennessee, has purchased nine pieces from Nash over the past four years.
“My wife and I buy art that we can relate to and feel,” Perkins said. “Woodrow’s art captures and retains a personality, an attitude, a certain air.”
The chance to work with the likes of Robinson and Knowles didn’t happen overnight. Nash pulls his talents from years of experience in a variety of art forms. Beginning his career as a freelance artist in Akron, Ohio, Nash worked as an illustrator and painted murals for local institutions.
Nash moved to New York in 1975 to work as a fashion illustrator, where he also spent time designing and illustrating record albums for inner city labels that represented jazz legends such as Father Hines, Cat Anderson and Arnett Cobbs.
After years as a technical illustrator with Goodyear and a stint in Cleveland with American Greetings, Nash moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he worked as a graphic artist. In 2002, Nash opened The Rage Gallery – a life long dream of his. Located in downtown Akron, Ohio, Nash’s hometown, The Rage Gallery houses his studio in addition to 2,000 square feet of gallery space.
“The Gallery lets me share my work with the people of this community, not just people all over the country,” Nash said. “I’ve always felt connected to Akron, so I never even considered opening my gallery anywhere else.
“Akron helped shape who I am and the pieces that I create, so this is a chance for me to give back to the community and share my love of art and the human form,” Nash continued.
Nash’s studio and gallery space are extensions of himself and his work. In his office area, books filled with photos of African art rest on shelves alongside a variety of plaques he has been awarded for his contributions to the art world. His entire studio space is lightly covered with a fine layer of dust that settles atop half painted vases and molds of African warriors.
The gallery itself is stunning in its display of incredible sculptures of men, women and children in a variety of poses and dress. The attention to intricate detail and the haunting realism of each piece is a tribute to Nash’s vision and creativity.
Whether it’s a businessman in Akron or a Grammy Award winner in California, Woodrow Nash’s sculptures offer a unique accent to complement every person’s individual taste.
The Children of Whitney
In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration – a network of hundreds of agencies designed to put to work the millions of Americans who had lost their jobs in the Great Depression. One of these agencies was the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP). Led by noted folklorist John A. Lomax, the FWP was sent across the country to record the histories and experiences of everyday Americans.
In 1936, the Federal Writers’ Project had an active African American unit who took it upon themselves to interview former slaves. John Lomax and his associate director Sterling A. Brown immediately realized the importance of preserving the story of slavery as expressed by its survivors. The formal collection of slave narratives ended in the spring of 1939, except in Louisiana where most of the oral stories were collected in 1940. At that time, 75 years had passed since the end of the Civil War. The majority of the former slaves that the FWP interviewed were children at the time of emancipation. For the most part, their stories recall their time spent in slavery as children and teenagers.
The Children of Whitney, a series of sculptures by Ohio-based artist Woodrow Nash, represent these former slaves as they were at the time of emancipation: children. Whitney presents the stories of these children as told in their own words. The visitors are introduced to the lives of the enslaved workers based on the recollections of those who endured, and who shared the stories of their lives as children in slavery.
Born in the late 1940s in Akron, Ohio, Woodrow Nash is in the tradition of the great masters. His consuming passion to elevate the human spirit takes the form of clay sculptures. Through his pieces, Nash achieves his goal of integrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics to yield striking embodiments of the human soul. When approached while working on the Children of Whitney, Nash said: “We are both detail-oriented people and we want these pieces to be as genuine to true slave life as possible. This project has been a challenge that I’ve looked forward to for a long time. My pieces will breathe life into the whole plantation.”
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Articles about Pickens Museum
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- Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman February 21, 2020
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- Exhibition: "Winter in New York" January 22, 2020
- The Turquoise Guitar by Jolene Bird November 26, 2018
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2015 and before
- Sculptor Bryant Baker's Lost Masterpiece November 3, 2015
- Pioneer Woman Models Come Home February 26, 2010
- Pioneer Woman Models Should Return to Ponca City July 13, 2007
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