In just a few weeks, Art on the Avenues’ Beauty of Bronze program will once again energize the community with its dynamic arts program for fifth-graders.
In conjunction with the Wenatchee School District, Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center, and the Performing Arts Center, Art on the Avenues will provide the opportunity for children to explore the sculpture in our community, the complexities of its creation, and their own capacity for artistic expression in the form of tiny sculptures. Interacting with the children in each of these phases will be Kevin Pettelle, internationally renowned sculptor and art educator.
While Kevin’s instrumental role in Beauty of Bronze is a vital part of the program, his influence in our community is also felt through his five exquisite sculptures in our exhibit, four of which are part of a permanent collection. They are all examples of his fascination with the human form, but “Ped” is probably the one that is most viewed. As part of the Sculpture Garden on the River Walk, its iconic presence surprises and inspires visitors.
The following piece, written by Kevin, illuminates a deeper meaning of the sculpture and enhances our appreciation of the creative act which produced it. Kevin’s contributions to the vitality of Wenatchee’s art are ongoing and invaluable, and we thank him!
“If art imitates life, the process rarely moves in a straight line. With all its twists and turns, the journey of discovery truly begins.
The journey of Ped began in 2006 when I was sculpting variations of the hand at half-life size for a fall gallery show as I have always been intrigued with the expressive beauty of the hands and feet. As the work for the show was nearing completion, I came to a realization: a focused study of hands would be incomplete without representing the foot. In my mind at least, one would not exist without the other. The concept for ‘Ped’ was born.
Years later, I was asked to propose a sculpture for the new Riverside Sculpture Park, a large version of ‘Ped’ seemed like the perfect fit. With its fluid horizontal composition echoing the river and hills beyond, it would act as a directional arrow pointing up and down the path. The whirl pattern of toes and heel print would create a visual dialog with Ada Riley’s ‘Labyrinth’ and Bernard Hosey’s ‘Pre- Mathematics’ already in place. Luckily, members of Art on the Avenues and the Icicle Fund embraced the concept making the project possible.
With the foot, race, gender and age can be non-specific. For reference I used my teen age son’s foot, the toes of my wife, my own veins, and for the pattern of the heel print, the double cowlick in my infants son’s hair. Both personal and universal, ‘Ped’ speaks deeply to my core aesthetic values.”
Ped Dedication: “The foot, first cousin to the hand, often found tightly bound. You are neglected, taken for granted and the source of endless puns, but we owe you much of which we call human. In selfless sacrifice you freed our hands to build our brains and change our world. With the individuality of a snow flake and the force of a cannon, you carry all the weight our bodies must bear throughout our days. And despite this, you have all the grace, elegance and expression of our most noble body.”
Joy Jasinek is a board member of Art on the Avenues, an organization that encourages anyone to become involved as a volunteer or a board member. She can be reached at email@example.com