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New sculpture in Vail made of bicycle parts

Daily staff report
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"Rider 01" by John Wenner. The bicycle themed sculpture is located on the International Bridge in Vail Village. It is close proximity to the starting line of the Time Trial Stage of the USA Pro Challeng,e which takes place Aug. 23 in Vail.
Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Art in Public Places recently facilitated the installation of a new sculpture, “Rider 01,” by John Wenner. Continuing to highlight summertime sports and recreation through the visual arts, Art in Public Places commissioned Wenner to create a unique sculpture this summer for Vail. Wenner distorts the line between representation and abstraction in his work of a cyclist riding a bike primarily composed of repurposed bicycle parts. The artist achieves both the figurative and literal connection between the cyclist and their bike in motion. “Rider 01” is now on view at the International Bridge in Vail Village.

“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, gears 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.”

In 2011, Wenner created a large-scaled kinetic sculpture, “Time Trial Wheel 001,” for Art in Public Place’s 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. As the host for this year’s Time Trial Stage of the USA Pro Challenge, Art in Public Places invited Wenner back to Vail to create another bicycle-themed sculpture.

“I became a sculptor because I love to solve three-dimensional problems with many different types of material,” Wenner said. “From concept to completion, I become immersed by the process of making and creating. From being a fabricator to sculptor and a bike racer, it just made sense to build my own bikes and also educate people how to build their own bike frames. It feels amazing to build and ride your own bicycle.”

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. It is his company which produces modern, innovative custom metal fabrication projects. As an active bike racer, he is participating in all of the races of the 2013 Big Mountain Enduro Series.

Vail is host to numerous cycling events throughout the year, including the Time Trial Stage of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge on Aug. 23. Vail’s numerous miles of mountain-bike trails, as well as paved cycling paths, biking is a vital part of our summer community. Vail is proud to be recognized by The League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

For more information, visit http://www.art

invail.com or contact Molly Eppard, Art in Public Places coordinator, at 970-479-2344 or meppard@vailgov.com.


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