In partnership with the Newport News Green Foundation, the Newport News Public Art Foundation is excited to have brought the sculpture La Luna by Lars Widenfalk to Chatham Trail, the Green Foundation’s park. A 6.87-acre green space in a bustling commercial district, Chatham Trail is also adjacent to an apartment complex with 250 units. The sculpture was installed in the pond August 12, 2021, and we celebrated this new work at the Newport News Green Foundation’s Picnic at the Pond in November 2021.
This oasis in the city provides a peaceful green space to connect with nature in the center of a busy environment. Chatham Trail’s large pond with a fountain is surrounded by a stone dust trail – a surface safe for all walkers – benches, signature landscaping, and a soon-to-be-planted rain garden. Installing La Luna brought a museum-quality art experience to the park.
Swedish sculptor Lars Widenfalk has spent his life carving, starting as a very young boy making wooden figurines in northern Sweden on summer vacations. His brother, a geologist, and father, a minister, sparked dual interests in stone and religious ceremonies, interests which coalesced in degrees in archaeology and art at Uppsala University in Sweden, and were furthered with sculpture training at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in Norway.
Widenfalk’s archaeological interest is reflected in his work. He prefers to work in stone, a material that suits his subject matter best, as stone does not deteriorate. While he often carves in Swedish granite, La Luna was carved in Pietrasanta, Italy, out of Carrara marble, another place and material important to him. His sculptures appear as recently excavated, ancient artifacts: pieces of ruins. Ruins suggest what might have been in the distant past, but do not provide concrete answers.
A similar quality of mystery and suggestion imbues Widenfalk’s work. La Luna’s eyes are closed but her face contemplative, basking. The expression on her face is peaceful, the work itself slightly mysterious. Who is she? While “la luna” means moon in Italian, Widenfalk isn’t necessarily personifying the moon with this figure, but indicating a feminine, remote, and benevolent presence that seems timeless. This archaic Egyptian quality also appears in many of Widenfalk’s sculptures, a quality he was drawn to during his archaeological studies. The sculpture’s eyes often draw the viewer’s gaze first, even if they are carved as partially closed, their gaze far-reaching. In La Luna’s face, we see the characteristic line connecting the eyebrow and the nose, a feature in many of Widenfalk’s carved faces.
Audio Tour: Coming Soon
Artist: Lars Widenfalk
Details: Carrara marble, 5’ tall. Made in Pietrasanta, Italy, at Studio SEM. Installed 2021.
Site: Chatham Trail, a Newport News Green Foundation property at the intersection of Chatham Dr. and Bland Blvd.
About The Artist: LARS WIDENFALK
Lars Widenfalk has participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions in Sweden, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates. His work is in museums and public art collections throughout Scandinavia, including the Swedish State Art Council, Göteborgs Art museum, Sundsvalls Museum and House of Parliament in Sweden, the Norwegian Arts Council and Contemporary Modern Museum in Norway.
Click here for a fascinating video of Widenfalk at work.