Boaz Vaadia is an internationally-recognized sculptor whose timeless, evocative stone figures inhabit museums, cultural sites, art galleries and private collections. As major installations at municipal and commercial buildings, parks and homes around the world, they set a tone of peace and serenity.
Born and raised in Israel, Vaadia moved to New York City in 1975. Thanks to a grant he received from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, he established his studio in SoHo before it transformed into a community of working artists. As roads were torn up and buildings torn down. he discovered sculptural materials that came straight from the earth, sedimentary rocks from glacial periods, millions of years old. Vaadia recycled these materials to make personal totems that evoked primal energies and ritual.
Starting in 1985, generic representations of men and women emerged from Vaadia’s earlier abstract, monumental effigies. Generalized in form, there is nevertheless individuality in each figure. “Each person is unique, as is the work of an artist" says Vaadia. 'It is important that we, as artists, identify our own uniqueness, just as every individual needs to identify his or her own individuality.”
Vaadia hand carves slices of slate and bluestone. He stacks the horizontal slabs until the silhouette of a person, animal or group emerges. He views the layering of the stone as a logical metaphor for the human layering of experience and memory.
Vaadia’s new work focuses on large, layered-stone heads developed from studies of particular people. Beginning with his own children, Sara and Rebecca, he selects sitters from among people he knows, works with or sees on the streets of Brooklyn. He takes photos and then sculpts a likeness in oil-based clay. The subsequent plaster casts begin to dissolve details, focusing on mass, volume and body language, qualities that are characteristic of the sitter.
(The above is excerpted and edited from an article in South Florida Art of the Times by Adrienne Garnett.)