VAIL — Art in Public Places commissioned artist John Wenner to create a unique sculpture this summer to celebrate the return of the time trial stage of the USA Pro Challenge to Vail on Friday.
Wenner distorts the line between representation and abstraction in his work of a cyclist riding a bike primarily composed of repurposed bicycle parts. “Rider 01,” now on view at the International Bridge in Vail Village, is going to be sold after the race for $10,000. The proceeds will be split with the artist, Art in Public Places and the Vail Veterans Program, a charity of interest to the artist. The generosity of the artist in sharing proceeds is greatly appreciated by both parties.
“The Vail Veterans Program is honored to receive a portion of the proceeds of ‘Rider 01,’” said Cheryl Jensen, executive director and founder of The Vail Veterans Program. “The artist feels the bike is an extension of his body, which is what our wounded warriors feel while skiing, river rafting and mountain biking. As many have shared with me, it is the only time that they don’t feel disabled. Thank you to John Wenner and Art in Public Places for supporting our wounded service members.”
‘Extension of my body’
“When I ride my bike, I sometimes feel like it is an extension of my body,” Wenner said. “With that concept in mind, I started developing ‘Rider 01’ with recycled materials, gear and chains substituting for parts of the human anatomy. The visual distinction between the cyclist and the bicycle is blurred, thus making it seem as if they were one.”
“This unique work of art is masterfully created,” said Molly Eppard, Art in Public Places coordinator. “John has so many subtleties intricately woven into this work symbolizing the true connection between the athlete and his gear. From the dangling key representing the heart, to the hammer at the front of the cycle, John has achieved a work truly representing the human connection to the sport.”
In 2011, Wenner created a large-scaled kinetic sculpture, “Time Trial Wheel 001,” for Art in Public Places’ exhibition “The Art of Motion” in conjunction with the USA Pro Challenge. The sculpture, which is now a part of the town of Vail’s permanent public art collection, is on view in Vail Village at the intersection of East Meadow Drive and Willow Bridge Road. It is welded steel and stands nearly 12 feet tall with a rotating wheel inspired by the time trial racers.
Wenner received his MFA in sculpture from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. Presently he is the senior welding instructor at the Community College of Denver. In 2006 he founded Fahrenheit Collective in Denver. As an active bike racer, he is participating in all of the races of the 2013 Big Mountain Enduro Series.
For information about purchasing the work, contact Art in Public Places coordinator Molly Eppard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-479-2344.