Stone released from the earth’s pull, uplifted and uplifting; stone transformed by art so that its very nature seems changed into something sublime and ethereal, yet powerful. Such is the effect of the work of the sculptor Arliss Newcomb. Her sculpture “Red Flame,” which sits atop its pedestal in the courtyard of the PAC, draws the viewer close, beckoning with its vibrant color and glowing form. And then our eyes are drawn upward, and we see with our hearts the ephemeral beauty of fire captured within the timelessness of stone. Take a moment, when you are moving along with the crowd, to experience the impact of this graceful piece.
Another piece of Arliss’ sculpture, “Spirit Flight,” on the inside corner of Memorial Park, also offers a respite from the busyness surrounding it. It exudes peace, serenity, and joy, and while we observe, transmits those feelings to us. Again, something light and airy escapes the innate heaviness of stone and invokes in us an instant of weightlessness and calm.
To further enrich our appreciation of her work, Arliss herself has graciously provided some background for these sculptures. We are fortunate to have these pieces as part of our visiting collection for a few more months. They are both for sale. Here’s her perspective:
“The word STONE evokes so many different impressions — heavy, permanence, mass, endurance. All of which are true, but to me it means surprise, adventure, joy.
“When I start working with a new piece of stone, the journey to completion is exciting, to say the least. I came to this journey at the age of 50, so feel an urgency to experience as much as possible in the years left to me.
“Over the years, most of my work has been of a size to easily handle and move.
“The idea of carving a large sculpture was a challenge I wished to try. Something uplifting and not static. Spirit Flight came about from that desire. Handling 500 pounds of Texas limestone plus the 1.600-pound basalt column it sits on was a challenge. Happily I finished the sculpture in time to celebrate my 70th birthday in October of 2007. The next spring it was installed in your fine city and now stands proudly in Memorial Park near the courthouse. Two years after that we installed “Red Flame,” (carved of Turkish travertine) in the courtyard beside the Convention Center.
“I thank Wenatchee and its Art on the Avenues for honoring all artists in such a welcoming fashion.”
Joy Jasinek is a board member of Art on the Avenues, an organization dedicated to bringing public art to the Wenatchee Valley. She can be reached at email@example.com