David Fein, also known as “Stone Man”, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1928.
In his youth, he studied art and was a regular visitor to the museums in the city. With the founding of Israel, he moved to live in Kibbutz Maayan Baruch, of which he is a member to this day.
In the early 50s, Avraham Portugali, a friend from Kfar Giladi, persuaded him to start working in stone. Fein learnt the art of sculpture from various teachers around Israel many of whom were Arab stonemasons.
In the 70s, Fein received a scholarship from the Italian government and went to study in the marble quarries of Carrara, which was always considered a pilgrimage site for stone artists. While in Carrara, he was introduced to Isamu Noguchi, who along with Henry Moore, was considered the greatest stone sculptors of the period. Noguchi invited Fein to work with him in Japan, where he learned the basics of working in stone, especially in basalt.
Fein works in small dimensions, and sculpts human figures, uses motifs of African masks, influenced by his youth in South Africa, along with motifs of horses and riders, reflecting his experiences on the ranch in Ma’ayan Baruch.
At the same time, he creates monumental sculptures characterized mainly by arch-like structures, or interpretations of the arch motif.
For many years, Fein taught generations of sculptors at the Tel Hai College and was one of the initiators of the most significant art event in the history of Israeli art at Tel Hai, which was attended by the best artists in Israel.
The inspiration for the motif of the arch, which occupied Fein for so many years, was the first known arch discovered in archeology, the arch of the Tel Dan, near his Kibbutz, Maayan Baruch.
Although the sculpture at the park is not a classic arch but more of a gateway structure with five openings, the way the stones are arranged one atop the other, and the beams between the pillars, conjure up the image of ancient structures.
The sculpture is built of massive horizontal stones, with smaller stones filling the separations between the pillars.
In addition to the seemingly large gateway to the view, the rock layers also form an artistic image of the crater’s geology – the rock layers’ fragility and delicacy.
The sculpture is thus also a poetic description of the crater and an invitation to experience the power of the landscape.