This exhibition celebrates the life and 40-year career of American-Israeli sculptor Boaz Vaadia as well as a decade long collaboration with Connaught Brown. Following his inaugural solo exhibition in London in 2006, this will be the fifth show of Vaadia’s work at the gallery.
Born in Israel in 1951, Vaadia travelled to New York in the early 1970s with a scholarship to study at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and Pratt Institute. From his early conceptual works, Vaadia gradually turned towards the figure and embraced the abandoned slate and ancient boulders from the city’s sidewalks that now surrounded his studios in Williamsburg and SoHo. Driven by an innate respect for mother earth, Vaadia treated these raw urban materials in the same way as the soil, rocks and sticks of his family’s farm in Israel: like holy relics or treasured antiquities.
Alongside a generation of sculptors including Anthony Gormley and Jaume Plensa, Vaadia created a new visual language filled with a profound spirituality. Each of his stoic figures, crafted in bluestone, slate and bronze, speaks of a timeless human presence akin to primeval Egyptian sphinxes, Greek Kouroi or African fetishes. These majestic bodies, arranged in groups or sometimes standing alone, were created from layers of fragile material shaped by careful movements of the artist’s hammer and chisel. With each flicker of his hand, Vaadia formed the harmonious relationship between figure, stone and the forces of life and gravity.
Vaadia has been the subject of major exhibitions around the world, including his recent retrospective at the Grounds for Sculpture Museum, New York in 2016. His work can now be found in prominent public places including the Time Warner Building, New York; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum, Tokyo; Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone; Ravina Sculpture Park, Chicago and Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
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