Nadia Yaron Embraced Chaos — In the Form of Chainsaws — To Create This Tranquil Exhibition
“I started carving clouds,” shares the artist and sculptor Nadia Yaron. Hudson, New York, where Yaron is based, is a place of big sky and mercurial weather. One instant, clear blue, the next, a crack of thunder and pink light. She found herself captivated by that transience and dynamism, by the subtle dance of fragility and strength, balance and imbalance she was constantly witnessing. And then there was that “first brave bloom to push itself out of the mud and snow in late winter.”
In a new show at Francis Gallery in Los Angeles, called — fittingly — “For the flowers and the clouds and the wind and the trees,” Yaron presents the body of work that emerged from this burgeoning love affair with her natural surroundings. “I work mostly outside from spring to autumn and am immersed in nature,” she says. “This show is a tribute, a way to say thank you to these elements for their beauty and wisdom and all the joy they bring to our lives.”
From her studio, a repurposed 19th century barn, Yaron used chainsaws and grinders to produce a series of sculptures of striking tranquility. It is not a peaceful exchange of energy. But, she says, “out of the chaos comes some quiet.” Eventually, Yaron turns to more meditative gestures like sanding and shaping with hand tools. The result is an array of wood and stone sculptures of varying shapes and sizes — some stout, others 6-feet tall, some that will fit in the palm of your hand, the majority of which are stacked and totemic — as well as the whimsical Cloud Bench carved from walnut and spalted maple. Colors span an LA-friendly palette of muted earth tones: Milky whites, dense blacks, striped marbles and veined oxblood, pops of pistachio and pink, as well as walnuts and light woods. Some more than others look as though they may topple at any moment (they don’t). They all tempt you to reach out and touch them. “The imbalance leads to a bit of discomfort, a dissonance, and an awareness of how fragile life can be — a reminder that nature, including humans, is perfect and imperfect.”
A particularly lovely setting for such a show, Francis Gallery draws inspiration from classic Korean aesthetics, including a curved partition that calls to mind a moon jar and a traditional Korean hanok courtyard. In this space, the contemplative forms Yaron has assembled feel especially peaceful. “I made each piece specifically for [Francis Gallery]…They feel like they were meant to be there. Like they just grew out of the ground,” Yaron shares. As for what’s next, Yaron says that she’s been dreaming of “landscape sculptures” that live out in the wild and reflect their particular settings: “Made for nature, by nature, to live in nature.” On view at Francis Gallery through March 25.
PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH CARABABAS