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Boaz Vaadia

 (born 1951)
Boaz Vaadia is active/lives in New York / Israel.  Boaz Vaadia is known for layered bluestone sculpture, modernist figure, portrait, animals.

Boaz Vaadia

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Boaz Vaadia
Artist Statement:

"My work is based on the concept that man functions according to the same laws as all other creatures of nature. Therefore, the urban environment is not an artificial creation but a natural habitat that we have created for ourselves. Through the exploration of the connection between man and nature, I create sculptures and environments that are contemplative and serene. The overall impact is of a warm and welcoming presence.

The materials I use in my sculptures: slate, shingle, bluestone, and boulders, are from the immediate area surrounding my studio in New York City. The slate roof shingles and bluestone are sedimentary rocks, which were formed by layers of sediment compressing over millions of years. Slate and bluestone are used throughout the city for roofing and building and also used in sidewalks, backyards, and for landscaping. Brought to the area by glacial movement during the ice age, the boulders in my work come from construction sites nearby my studio.

I hand carve each individual piece of stone with a hammer and chisel, exposing the stratified layers of the bluestone. I then stack these stone layers to create figurative sculptures. Although at this point the pieces stand by themselves, I bolt them together with threaded rods and glue for permanence and safety of the viewer. My process parallels natural transformations in stone and recalls ancient methods of construction that rely on the cut and weight of the stone rather than on mortar. The pieces are linked to natural processes and look as though created by wind, water, and time.

By using the natural forces of rocks, my work awakens ancient "earth senses" that were slowly abandoned by man during his evolution to civilization. By carving the stone, I release its inherent energies. This stone sculpture now carries a direct message to the soul of the viewer. Man came from the earth and in death returns to it. I see stone as the bone structure of the earth.

For select stone pieces, I continue the process by casting the sculpture in bronze, creating a limited edition of five to seven works. Bronze is a durable substance that expands the possibilities of placement of the work in public contexts while at the same time connecting the piece to the history of figurative sculpture.

When I first began naming my figurative pieces I chose the names of my childhood friends. Soon, I realized that my personal association with names was rooted in the Bible, as there is a strong Israeli tradition of using Biblical names. It was a natural and logical progression for me to begin to draw my titles from the beautiful names found in the Old Testament. The titles are never meant as literal interpretations of Biblical characters or stories, but rather a reflection of my cultural heritage. Using these names as titles for my figurative sculptures is a personal way to identify them.

Boaz Vaadia


Rockford Public Installation
Rockford, IL
June 17, 2015 - June 17, 2016

Sculpture for New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
April 20, 2015 - April 20, 2016

Sculpture for "Art for Healing" at University Medical Center of Princeton
Plainsboro, NJ
Permanent Installation since Winter 2014

Illinois Wesleyan University Sculpture Walk
Bloomington, IL
Permanent Installation Since June 2014?

Season of Sculpture VII
Sarasota, FL
November 16, 2013 - May 30, 2014?

Downtown Abstractions
Stamford, CT

Waterfront Promenade
Yonkers, NY
Aviator Park in Logan Square
On Loan through Moore College of Art & Design
Philadelphia, PA

Village Green
Summit, NJ

Pratt Institute Sculpture Park
Brooklyn, NY
Long-Term Exhibition: June 15, 2011 - Ongoing?

Rockland Center for the Arts
West Nyack, NY

Grand Rapids, MI
September 22, 2010 - October 10, 2010?

Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Nashville, TN

deCordova Sculpture Park
Lincoln, MA

Independence Park
Tel Aviv, Israel

Boca Raton Resort, Florida
January 2010 - Ongoing?With Elaine Baker Gallery

Roam Around - Summer Exhibition
Stamford, Connecticut

El Paseo Invitational Sculpture Exhibition
Palm Desert, California
November 2008 - October 2010?On Loan from Imago Galleries

University of Nevada (sculpture garden)
Reno, Nevada

City Hall
Yonkers, New York
Boaz Vaadia Museum Collection?Long Term Loan: 2008 - August 2011

The Village Green
Cashiers, North Carolina
Boaz Vaadia Museum Collection?On Loan - Exhibiting to November 12, 2008

Boaz Vaadia Sculpture in New York City
Links to an interactive .pdf
Permanent and Temporary Works?

Morningside Park
New York, New York
Boaz Vaadia Museum Collection?On Loan - Exhibiting to April 1, 2008

Broadway Mall
New York, New York

Barnard College
New York, New York

All Souls School
New York, New York

The Bass Museum of Art
Miami, Florida

Berkeley Square
London, England
On Loan - Exhibition Ended December 2006

Figuratively Speaking
Stamford, CT
On Loan - Exhibition Ended August 2006

The Hilton Garden Inn
Staten Island, NY

The Time Warner Building
at Columbus Circle, NYC
Residential Tower

The Monterey Building
Upper East Side, NYC

Nassau County Museum
Long Island, NY
On Loan

Ravinia Sculpture Park
Chicago, IL

Carnegie Park
Upper East Side, NYC

Philharmonic Center for the Arts
Naples, FL

Website of the Artist

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Boaz Vaadia
Best known for his 'stacked' sculptures that often incorporate huge boulders, Boaz Vaadia's works are held in collections around the world. Born in Israel and raised on a farm, Vaadia moved to New York City in 1975 thanks to a grant he received from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation.

Boaz Vaadia's educational background includes studies at the Avni Institute of Fine Arts, Tel-Aviv, Israel, 1967-71; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, 1975-76; and the Brooklyn Museum Art School, Brooklyn, NY, 1976-77. Vaadia says he "works with nature as an equal partner". (quote from the artist's website). "My father instilled in me a great love for mother earth,"... "The fact that I came to New York City didn't change that."

His early work was more monumental and abstract, but starting in 1985, Vaadia began to create generic representations of men and women. Though generalized in form, his figures have clear individuality, showing the artist's intention being to represent the essence of a specific person. At first, these sculptures were of a single person, then two people. Later a dog became a frequent, integral element, as well as family groupings, showing possible inspiration of Henry Moore. Often, huge boulders appear as seat supports or background elements in the compositions. Vaadia does little to alter the natural contours of the boulders he uses, other than leveling the bottoms and occasionally making a groove to accommodate the figure.

The origin of his use of such boulders is a unique story (credit to articles by Adrienne Garnett and Genia Gould) and illustrates how Vaadia likes to 'live in the moment'. When he moved his studio from SoHo to Brooklyn in 1989, the streets there were being torn up for sewer repairs. Ancient boulders were found in excavations all around his Berry Street studio. He tells a story of riding his bike in the area when he saw these boulders in street cavities and asked the workmen about obtaining some. "If you want them, they're yours; you just have to get them out of here." Bicycling back to his studio, he found a place with a used forklift that he bought on the spot for $3000.

He returned for the boulders and has been retrieving these giant stones ever since. On the day he moved his studio contents to Brooklyn, it was raining and Vaadia invited the moving men to take their lunch break inside, in the space that was now already half-filled with boulders. The men walked around looking at the great stones and each seemed to select a particular stone to stand near or to sit upon. Vaadia was fascinated, as each person seemed to relate on a very personal level to a particular boulder. It reminded him of how people walk along a beach and are spontaneously attracted to particular stones or shells. Soon the boulders were part of his works.

Vaadia's own children, Sarah and Rebecca, are subjects for some of his art. Other sitters might be interesting people he chances to meet on the street. His work has been shown across the country, including the White House, as well as internationally, and is in permanent installations around the world, including the Time Warner building in New York.

Sources include:
website of the artist:
Adrienne Garnett, author of 'Boaz Vaadia, Creator of Timeless Stone Sculptures' from "South Florida Art of the Times", 2005;
Genia Gould, NY Times Oct 2002, 'Sculptor Harvests Brooklyn Boulders as Material for Art'.

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About  Boaz Vaadia

Born:  1951 - Gat Rimon, Israel
Known for:  layered bluestone sculpture, modernist figure, portrait, animals