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Hungry for more Paley?

By Meg Colbert, Visual Resources Assistant/Creative Workshop Registrar

coverAP21centuryJust a few months ago, I wrote about Albert Paley briefly as he was highlighted in Breaking Ground: A Century of Craft Art in Western New York, as the premier ironmaster both regionally and nationwide. That 12-page spread served as an appetizer to the hearty entrée of Albert Paley in the 21st Century, the catalog for the exhibition of the same title that opened earlier this month.

Much like the exhibit, the catalog shows a diverse array of Paley’s sculptural work in various stages from conception to creation to completion. Images of Paley working in his studio, standing next to gargantuan pieces of steel with tape measure or torch in hand accompany photographs of the work in their final installation showing the transformation that can’t help but leave the reader feeling awestruck by Paley’s power over solid matter. The level of workmanship and attention to detail can be seen in the views of various developmental models made in cardboard and steel. The sheer scale of Paley’s work is solidified in the construction views with forklifts and cranes looking nimble and dainty in comparison to the pieces of shaped metal they strive to assemble.

A new level of appreciation can be gained by these images alone; from Paley’s detailed proposals to the pieces of work being carefully loaded onto machinery in the snow. Carter Ratcliff’s essay “Monument as Provocateur: The Art of Albert Paley” furthers this admiration by naming Paley as the contemporary to ancient masters of sculpture including Praxiteles and Bernini. Ratcliff sings Paley’s praises and chronicles the artist’s development from his beginnings as a jeweler in the early 1970’s to Threshold, the bright yellow sculpture which stands 71 feet tall in front of Klein Steel headquarters in Rochester, completed in 2007.

The entirety of the catalog can be compared to each of Paley’s pieces; an organic journey of possibility and process that as Ratcliff describes; “represents freedom itself – not as an abstraction but as an experience for us to seize and elaborate.”

Albert Paley in the 21st Century is now available for borrowing at the Charlotte Whitney Allen Library. Click here to check availability.

The exhibition catalog can also be purchased exclusively at The Gallery Store.

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