WOODROW NASH, the Master of African New Art.
WOODROW NASH, the Master of African New Art.

WOODROW NASH, the Master of African New Art.

In the tradition of the great masters, Woodrow Nash’s consuming passion to uplift the human spirit takes the form of sculpture.

Born in Akron, Ohio, in the late 1940s, Woodrow Nash was the product of sanctified churches, 1950s television images and black neighbourhood schools run by predominantly white middle-class educators. The young student immersed himself in art at a time when artists sought nothing less than old-fashioned honesty in their imagery. As a freelance artist, he painted murals for local institutions and worked as an illustrator. In 1975, he left Akron for the bright lights of New York, where he became a fashion illustrator. There he also designed and illustrated albums for jazz labels representing such greats as Father Hines, Cat Anderson, Arnett Cobbs and Jeff Lorber Fusion.


In 1977, armed with a degree in commercial art from the Pels School of Art in New York, he worked as a freelance illustrator. Less than ten years later, his artistic career took him back to Ohio, where he worked as a technical illustrator for Goodyear Aerospace Corporation, then as an illustrator for American Greetings Corporation.


In 1991, Woodrow moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and worked as a graphic artist, a profession that has undergone the complete infiltration of computers and electronic imaging. While still an art form, it seems light years away from the tactile expression offered by clay manipulation. “I’m looking for an expression that transcends cultural boundaries. This attitude leads many artists towards the strange and the oblique; for Woodrow, the search led him to the very foundation of humanity – Africa and global tribal culture.


Woodrow Nash‘s sculptures convey human delicacy and inner harmony.

Examining the contemporary male and female physique, he explores the natural form and mythology of the body. Incorporating a variety of styles and techniques using stoneware, earthenware, terracotta or porcelain, Nash’s work is fired electronically, pit-fired or via a ‘raku’ effect, creating an ‘African Nouveau’ brand of his own.

Although the images are African, in general the concept is that of fifteenth-century Benin, with the graceful, slender proportions and long, undulating lines of eighteenth-century Art Nouveau.


In his pieces, Woodrow Nash achieves his goal of integrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics to create striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality.

Today, Woodrow Nash’s work is collected internationally. The demographics of his collectors know no racial boundaries and include everyone from working professionals to wealthy sports personalities and entertainment superstars.


Woodrow Nash creates a sense of mystery and charisma in each of his sculptures. Through his pieces, Nash achieves his goal of integrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics into striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality.


Woodrow Nash makes mesmerising empty-eyed sculptural busts that combine the slender proportions of fifteenth-century Beninese art with an eighteenth-century Art Nouveau aesthetic to create a style Nash describes as ‘New African’.

Nash’s fired ceramic busts are dressed in extravagant costumes and jewellery and painted with seductive patterns and iconography that range from interlocking stripes and geometric patterns to sleek human silhouettes. His subjects are adorned with luxurious beaded capes, shell necklaces and highly figurative headdresses; their textured ‘raku’ skins come from Nash’s unique electronic firing method.



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