Sculptor Gail Folwell visits Vail gallery Tuesday, Wednesday |

Sculptor Gail Folwell visits Vail gallery Tuesday, Wednesday

"The Edge Monument." Artist Gail Folwell in front of her double life-size sculpture in Vail’s Mountain Plaza at the base of Gondola One.
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

Who: Gail Folwell.

Where: Claggett/Rey Gallery, 100 E. Meadow Drive, Vail.

When: Tuesday and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m.

More information: Call 970-476-9350 or visit

Forget what it looks like — make what it feels like.

When Gail Folwell uttered these words during a Q&A with the Denver Art Museum, she was encapsulating her work perfectly. The artist is known for creating sculptures that are both raw and refined, whether they detail a professional skier careening down a hill or a lover slumped over with longing. She will be at Claggett/Rey Gallery for a meet and greet Tuesday and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m.

“They call it the visual arts but really, witnessing great art is an emotional experience,” explains Folwell. “Look at (Picasso’s) ‘Guernica.’ To create and receive art as an expression of experience is the difference between being impressed by a craft or punched in the gut. Takes your breath away.”

Visitors to Vail have had the opportunity to be “punched in the gut” by Folwell’s work, “The Edge.” Inspired by daredevil Bode Miller but honoring all the skiers and snowboarders who have represented Vail at the World Championships and Olympic competitions, the sculpture is at the Mountain Plaza near Gondola One.

“Gail Folwell’s ‘Edge’ captures the essence and fluidity of skiing better than any I have seen,” said Bill Rey, owner of Claggett/Rey Gallery. “She technically nailed the contemporary racer and it’s a perfect fit to the Mountain Plaza.”


Though the sheer size of “The Edge” certainly helps pack some of the punch, Folwell’s works, both great and small, manage to seize on the subject’s most dynamic essence. From larger-than-life public art to tabletop sculptures and even kitchen drawer pulls, her motivation is to make her work matter to the viewer in a very personal way.

“It’s always about what it feels like,” Folwell said. “Love, death, lust, adrenaline … in the case of sports, it’s why we watch. We want to relate to the rush of that perfect, dangerously precarious turn, or the shot, or win, or speed. All of the things we do for pleasure are toying with our emotional experience. I want art to do that.”


To this end, Folwell begins creating a sculpture by chasing a moment, a concept, a feeling. Either she comes across it, or she goes looking for it. Originally a graphic designer, she allows herself the artistic license to accentuate and elongate, dramatize and imbue — whatever it takes to make a piece that really captures the essence.

“Generally I don’t even approach something until a concept or a moment of something I’ve seen strikes me as moving,” she said.

Eventually she’ll bring in an expert to critique what she’s done — a ski coach, perhaps, who knows what each individual muscle is doing as a racer rounds a gate. But if it doesn’t make an emotional impact, then it’s not done.

“Like all of our artists, it’s about the level of quality of the work represented,” Rey said. “Gail’s work is of the highest quality and it adds a wonderful contemporary side to our gallery.”

Support Local Journalism