Nadia Yaron | Muses of Now
This season we’ve found ourselves drawn to themes of juxtaposition and contrast, welcoming the dualities of softness and strength; the bold and the delicate; and complexity expressed with concision.
Through this lens we’ve been returning again and again to the work of Nadia Yaron, a sculptor based in Upstate New York whose self-taught practice uses wood, stone, and metal as mediums for reflecting simplicity, impermanence, and fragility. Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nadia’s work embraces the unity of opposites through sculptural landscapes that examine what it means to make permanent forms from a place of constant change, and to seek harmony through textural variation, organic form, and natural materials.
Read on for our conversation with Nadia, with musings on how leaning into these “contrasting” ideals spark their own generative language.
There appears to be an inevitable juxtaposition between your process (the chainsaws, the grinding!) and the final elegance of form in your sculptures. What does this tension illuminate?
My work is always unfolding and evolving so it's hard for me to fully know — but right now I can say my history is a big part of my work, and the work is allowing me to know and accept myself more fully.
I come from rebellion, punk rock, and mostly doing my own thing. I believed that you have to dismantle and start over in order to make any real changes…and I still do. I'm just less angry about it now. I think all these feelings and beliefs naturally make their way into my work with both the process and through the materials themselves. Strength is facing your fears.
What is your relationship to gentleness? And strength?
I admire it. Gentleness is my children, my husband. Gentleness is something I hope to give myself and others more of. It requires patience and understanding. Strength is choosing joy despite all the reasons to not. Strength is figuring out why we were given the gift of a human life and courageously living it out.
What is your relationship to imperfection? How has it shifted over time?
I think imperfection is everything, really…perfection doesn’t actually exist. We strive for a perfection that looks different for everyone; it's a myth we tell ourselves.
One person may think a “perfect” chair is smooth and just the right dimensions, made from the cleanest, richest, most oiled wood. But I might see a “perfect” chair as something beaten up, found on the side of the road. Over time I've come to believe that imperfection and perfection are actually the same thing rather than two opposing themes.
You’ve mentioned a part of your process is about “giving yourself to the stone." Can you find the articulable language for how it feels to surrender to this kind of materiality?
Surrendering is a concept I learned to embrace both through motherhood and during the pandemic, about learning to be in the present moment and accepting what is.
In what ways have you come to "know" yourself this year, thus far?
About my work — I’ve learned the part I like least is the finishing phase.
About myself — I'd forgotten (and recently remembered) how much music saves me. Every time I hear a throwback song or a new song that lifts me [I remember] how music has always been a huge part of my life. [I’ve also learned] I am always searching for a relatable role model through biographies/auto-bioigraphies/documentaries about artists, drifters, freedom fighters, free-spirits, or free thinkers.
What are you uncompromising about?
Nothing really. My initial thought was “my practice,” but realistically — if something happened and I wasn't able to work anymore, I would have to compromise to find another way. Then I thought, ‘I won't compromise on my materials. I only use natural materials.’ But never say never. Everything changes over time and I don't want to box myself in.
What have you found yourself saying 'yes’ to this year?
Joy, appreciation, and gratitude.