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 Boaz Vaadia  (1951 - )

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Lived/Active: New York / Israel      Known for: outdoor sculpture-mod figure, portrait

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Yigal and Amarya, 1999
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
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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