Artist Bates Wilson creates catch of the year; meet the artist at Vail International Gallery on Saturday |

Artist Bates Wilson creates catch of the year; meet the artist at Vail International Gallery on Saturday

Sculptures by New Mexico-based artist on display through February

New Mexico-based artist Bates Wilson creates larger-than-life works from discarded metal. These 8-foot-tall fish are on display at Vail International Gallery in Vail Village. Meet the artist on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Special to the Daily

Editor’s note: Reporting from Katie Coakley for the Vail Daily’s Art Magazine, available for free across the valley, was used for this story.

Hanging in Vail International Gallery on East Meadow Drive in Vail Village is a sculpture of two “huge” fish by New Mexico-based artist Bates Wilson. At 8 feet tall, you could call it the catch of the year.

Wilson will be at Vail International Gallery on Saturday, Feb. 15, to help celebrate the opening of his new exhibit at Marc LeVarn’s storied gallery in Vail. Meet the contemporary sculpture from 4 to 7 p.m. and gain insight into his larger-than-life works. Left Bank restaurant is catering, and there will be a jazz trio performing as well. The opening on Saturday is free to attend. Wilson’s work will be on exhibit at Vail International Gallery through the end of the month.

“It’s really remarkable, but it definitely comes with challenges as to how you’re going to display, get them in and move them,” LeVarn said about Wilson’s work. “Simply, it’s harder than a painter, but at the same time the work is so exciting and that’s what makes a gallery great.”

Vail International Gallery opened in 2005 and was founded by LeVarn, Patrick Cassidy and Maria Cassidy LeVarn. It features contemporary work by both emerging and nationally known artists.

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‘Make something new out of old things’

Wilson is known for taking discarded metal, often rusted and abused, and giving it a new life.

In his studio, street signs, old engine parts and other pieces of metal become animals, surfboards, guns and more original works.

“The idea is to make something new out of old things; to take that which is discarded and renew the life it once had,” Wilson told the Vail Daily’s Art Magazine for the issue currently on shelves. “Art should allow for the continuous evolution of materials and ideas.”

Wilson’s work creates conversations, whether about the sheer size and majesty or his messages about endangered animals featured in sculptures.

See Wilson’s work at Vail International Gallery through Feb. 29. The gallery also features works by other artists, including Ferrari engine tables, classic Russian impressionism, contemporary landscape work and more.

“When we do a big push for an artist like Bates, it’s exciting because you bring in pieces that are fresh and interesting, and that’s why we do it,” LeVarn said.

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Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

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