Madden rocked it

WAG’s continued reporting on the creation of a stone sculpture by artist Bob Madden culminated with a site visit Oct. 12.

WAG’s been following the progress of stone sculptor Bob Madden’s latest project here – and delved into the story a bit deeper in our current print issue.

Late last week, we had the chance to get up to see the finished work in person in Dutchess County, as Madden gave us a tour at Crystal Park in Holmes, just a hop away from his Poughquag studio.

The property is a 200-acre oasis owned by a New York City businessman, used primarily as a private nature retreat and art park for his employees.

It was with great anticipation that we headed into the woods, a rocky path leading down toward YinYuan Lake. Along the way is other artwork that the owner has commissioned, all leading to Madden’s site.

If you recall, Madden got in touch with us back in April to tell us about his newest commission, which we’ve followed ever since.

He found a rock – which was 10 feet long by 5 feet deep and weighed nearly 20 tons – on the property and had it moved to its permanent site, then spent the next six months or so at work on the massive chunk of gneiss.

“I’m just starting to see it as an artwork, not the thing I’m coming to work on every day,” he said last week on arriving at the site.

Within moments, he was finally ready to share the work’s name – “Window to the Past.”

The title can be interpreted in two ways – it is situated to face the direction of Taiwan, where the property owner is originally from (his past).

And, it also gives all visitors a look into the earth’s history, examining the fine details of the rock that would have otherwise remained, most likely, just another part of the landscape.

Its design, Madden shared, also gives a glimpse into the work its creation entailed.

“The idea of going through 2 feet of stone is that it captures your mind.”

Now standing nearly 10 feet tall, its base surrounded by stone chips made during the carving process, the design incorporates a place to pause, as Madden said, “having a bench for people to sit on and interact with this area.”

And that’s just what I did – settling onto the bench, gazing over the lake as daydreams suddenly transported me to another world.

Just as art should do…

For those interested, you can make a trip to Dutchess County this weekend, as the ArtEast Open Studio Tour continues Oct. 20 and 21. Both Crystal Park and Madden’s own studio, along with that of his wife, fiber and metal artist Karen Madden, are featured on the tour of Dutchess and Putnam sites. For more, visit or

– Mary Shustack

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