VAIL — Local architect and artist Karl Krueger has crafted a fresh addition to Matterhorn Circle in West Vail. “Horse & Rider” is life-size and well worth at least a drive-by view. Don’t wait too long, however, since this exhibit’s life span will be defined by the weather this weekend.
Krueger’s work is not unknown in the valley. In the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, he was a commissioned artist for the Triumph Winterfest, put on by the town of Vail’s Art in Public Places. For two years in a row, he created polar bears for the event — 13 snow bears in total.
He calls his newest public art piece a “complex armature,” which he constructed in one day, two weeks ago along the river near The Westin in Avon. The framework for the piece is made from strong and bendable dead fall sticks of scrub oak trees. It took Krueger seven hours to load up snow in the frame he built.
Once the original site of the structure became too warm, Krueger moved it to West Vail, in the open space on the other side of the river from Donovan Park, and has filled in the horse with snow several times since.
“Instead of being built of architectural shapes of two-by-fours and plywood, it is built like a bird or a beaver would build it,” Krueger said. “Instead of mud between the sticks, snow — or more accurately melting snow — in the sticks make up my wattle and daub.”
The piece is a representation of a more contemporary West, Krueger said; a West that has taken on more complexities, and perhaps less definition, of animal and man. The details of the piece are not in the physical intricacies or facial expressions, but in the sturdy framework of its existence. Once the snow melts, what remains is still the rider and his horse — a West that, in its framework, stands steadfast through every passing season.
“I’ll wait for the snow to melt off the meadow,” Krueger said. “Then I’ll take the piece and find a place for it to live for a while.”
Interim A&E Editor Kim Fuller can be reached at email@example.com.