Price’s “George Washington” part of sculpture display
No collection of works from western American sculptors would be complete without a representative piece by Gary Lee Price, from Mapleton, Utah. Over the past 35 years, he has earned a reputation as one of this country’s most prolific and influential figurative sculptors, with hundreds of pieces in private collections and public installations all across the U.S. and internationally. He is a member of the prestigious National Sculpture Society, and in 2014 was elected to “Fellow” status.
Fortunately, St. George is graced by several of Price’s bronze sculptures, acquired through the efforts of Art Around the Corner and the annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit. “Flight Time” is prominently displayed at the northeast corner of the Tabernacle, and the whimsical duo, “Puffed Up Prince” and Puffed Up Princess” are kids favorites overlooking the Town Square water feature. And the lobby of St. George Airport boasts a four-foot high Price bronze, entitled “Wings”.
We’ve included another Gary Lee Price piece in this year’s exhibit, with a more pensive and patriotic theme. Directly across Main Street from the Tabernacle, “George Washington” depicts the father of our nation seated on a park bench with sheathed sword, poised to rise again if called upon. The bronze bench has an inviting space open for viewers to sit next to the great man and reflect on all that he stood for. This piece is part of Price’s “great contributors” series, which honors luminaries such as Abraham Lincoln, Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein and the Wright brothers.
Price’s long passion for sculpture began when he worked for another artist. As he relates, it was a transformative experience: “I literally slept in the studio for nine months, with a foam pad and a Coleman sleeping bag. I’d work all day long, I’d weld, I’d grind, I’d do his patinas. Then at night I’d work with clay and create my own pieces. And this was like magic to me. Instead of creating a 2D illusion, I was actually creating the object itself in three dimensions. It was beautiful. It resonated so deeply within my soul that sculpting has been my pursuit, my entire life, ever since.”
Staying true to his declared mission of “Lifting the human spirit through sculpture”, he is involved an ambitious project that may well define his legacy. Through collaboration with the late Stephen R. Covey, the family Victor Frankl (famous author and holocaust survivor), and a national non-profit organization, Price was selected to create what is planned to become the 300-foot “Statue of Responsibility”, to be the west-coast compliment to the Statue of Liberty. You can see a smaller-scale version of the piece on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.
Art Around the Corner is a non-profit foundation working to enhance downtown St. George with captivating outdoor art. The Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit is the foundation’s flagship project, which each year selects around two dozen sculptures for an temporary installation. Organizations and individuals can buy pieces for public or private installation. The foundation retains a portion of the proceeds, which in turn funds expansion of the city’s permanent sculpture collection.
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