Rochester can get closer look at Albert Paley's works
05:00 AM, Dec 15, 2013
If you go
What: Albert Paley exhibit.
When: Through Jan. 15.
Where: Nan Miller Gallery, 3450 Winton Place, Brighton.
For information: (585) 292-1430 or NanMillerGallery.com.
Albert Paley’s sculptures graced a 15-block stretch of Park Avenue in New York City this past summer.
Next summer, his works will be at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., one of the oldest and most prominent art showcases in the nation.
The New York City exhibit, which Paley says was his studio’s most ambitious to date, was documented in a coffee table book and a WXXI Public Broadcasting Council documentary. That documentary debuted Thursday and is currently on WXXI.org.
“The documentation is very important because it captures what’s invisible, what’s ephemeral all the interactions, all the logistics,” Paley says.
Each year, the New York City government funds an installation along Park Avenue usually “a few” sculptures, officials said. Paley’s was the largest-scale project, in terms of size and artistic vision, in a decade.
Rochesterians also can get an idea of what the New York City installation was like in two other ways: One of the sculptures, Cloaked Intentions, has been installed at Rochester Institute of Technology. Several of the maquettes, or to-scale small versions of the sculptures used to present the works and help determine how to make them, are on display at the Nan Miller Gallery at 3450 Winton Place in Brighton.
People might see a few others around locally as well, bought by local art collectors. In all, nine of the 13 sculptures have been sold; two are going to Lincoln, Neb., and others to Grand Rapids, Mich., Miami and California, Paley says.
The 13 sculptures are definitely tied by Paley’s signature style, but Miller says they also showed different aspects of his works. Some were more free-flowing with ribbons of steel, while others had sharp angles.
“For me as an artist, it was a great opportunity to have that much work shown at one time in one of the most public venues,” Paley says. “If I just did a variation of the theme, they would be all semi-alike. But with 13 as a body of work, I wanted to show the diversity in the different ways in which I work.”
Art lovers can get an even better idea of the diversity in Paley’s styles through the Nan Miller Gallery exhibit through the maquettes, but also through sketches and a few older sculptures to some of his artistic furniture pieces, which include candlesticks and tables.
The exhibit runs through about Jan. 15, when what hasn’t sold will be packed up with other Paley pieces and shipped to Art Palm Beach, one of the most well-known high-end art fairs.
Miller is showing Paley’s pieces through her Ruth Lawrence Fine Art division (named after her parents), and Paley will give lectures and participate in other programs as he did in SOFA Chicago in November.
Paley and Miller have been working together steadily since his retrospective show in 2010 at the Memorial Art Gallery, when he wanted a venue where people could buy some of his works if they like the styles they saw in the MAG exhibit.
The Corcoran exhibit will cover 50 years, chronicling the evolution of Paley’s work from his days as a student at Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. He started carving stone and wood and working with figures. He then began his works with metals, at first primarily as a goldsmith making jewelry, work that led to him coming to RIT as a professor (he holds the Charlotte Fredericks Mowris professorship in contemporary crafts at the School for American Crafts).
He then moved on to other metals and started building his sculptures. In the early 1970s, in a move that brought him international attention, he received the commission for the gate at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. Because the gallery is undergoing renovations next year, the gate will be part of the Corcoran exhibit.
For years, he worked in forged iron, making architectural elements such as fences and chandeliers. He made his first freestanding sculpture in the early 1980s for The Strong museum, one that still stands today.
Through the years, he has built a business with his wife, Frances (an artist in her own right). They employ about 10 people in their 50,000-square-foot studio at the former Valeo automotive plant on Lyell Avenue.
Corcoran is working with Paley’s studio’s archivist going through the five decades of work to choose the best. Then they will approach private collectors, as well as using some from Paley’s own collection, in the exhibit.
Miller says Paley’s style continues to evolve, something Paley says he loves about being an artist.
“That’s one of the things, one of the reasons I became professionally involved in art the investigation of various techniques and processes, but also personal introspection.”