We at Xpress are deeply saddened by the loss of local painter, sculptor and gallery owner Vadim Bora.
An announcement was made this morning, by his studio, that the artist passed away following a massive stroke in late December. He was 56.
A little bit about Bora, from his own website: “Unlimited in his ability to create in any media, Master Sculptor and painter Vadim Bora is owner and principal artist of Vadim Bora Galleries & Studio in Asheville, NC. Originally from the republic of North Ossetia in Russia’s Caucasus Mountains, Bora creates work that reflects the high standards found in classical and contemporary European techniques and traditions.”
He had lived in Asheville since 1993 and his contributions to the local art scene included “Cat Walk” for the Asheville Urban Trail, “On the Mend” (a 10-piece life-sized figurative sculpture) for Mission Hospital’s Reuters Children’s Outpatient Center and, most recently, “Cornelia and Cedric” — a bronze sculpture of Cornelia Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt family dog Cedric — which was installed at the Biltmore Estate’s new Antler Hill Village visitor area and dedicated this past September.
Bora’s paintings are no less impressive, as anyone who stopped by his Battery Park studio (open since 1998) could attest. Round figures and equally soft landscapes in earth tones are both whimsical and folkloric. Religious themes — angels, clergy — are tempered with warm humanity; the most mundane events — picking apples, keeping chickens — are heightened to golden moments, the paintings seeming to glow from within.
Bora himself seemed to glow, greeting visitors to his studio, generously pouring wine, encouraging us all to enjoy. At the final downtown art walk of 2010 (Friday, Dec. 3), I arrived at Bora’s gallery to find it sparsely populated. Hearing voices from across the hall, I peeked into Bora’s studio (which occupied the other half of the upstairs space at 30 1/2 Battery Park) and found that that’s where the party was happening. Local artists and art enthusiasts crowded the space, talking, drinking wine and looking at Bora’s works in progress. The artist himself was darting around, offering wine and trying to adjust the heat. There was nothing particularly special about the evening, and yet it felt like a grand celebration — a testament to the artist’s all-too-short but vividly-colorful life.
Vadim Bora leaves behind his wife, local food writer Constance Richards, and son, local artist Georgi Bora. He will be greatly missed.