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Museum of Glass opens exhibition of glass and steel sculptures by Albert Paley
Albert Paley (American, born 1944) in collaboration with Martin Blank (American, born 1962) at Museum of Glass, Horizontal Passage, 2012. Formed and fabricated stainless steel, hot-formed glass, 18 3/4 x 46 x 34 in. (47.6 x 116.8 x 86.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Chuck Lysen.

TACOMA, WA.- Complementary Contrasts: The Glass and Steel Sculptures of Albert Paley opened at Museum of Glass on September 9. The exhibition has been more than seven years in the making and has included works created during two previous residencies in the Museum’s Hot Shop, time in Albert Paley’s studio in Rochester, New York, and collaborative sessions with artist friends across the nation. The result is twenty-nine works that fill over two galleries at Museum of Glass.

Albert Paley is one of the most celebrated metal sculptors in the country and is the first to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects, the AIA’s highest award to a non-architect. “The allure of Paley’s art comes through its intrinsic sense of integration of art and architecture,” as one noted architect stated. Paley, Distinguished Professor, holds an Endowed Chair at the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Paley’s career has spanned more than four decades, and has included major public installation projects such as Paley on Park Avenue in New York City, and Animals Always at the St. Louis Zoo. He is highly sought-after for major architectural commissions, and his work is included in major museum collections including: Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Museum of Fine Arts Boston; and Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Glass and steel have many contrasting characteristics: glass is fragile, transparent, and reflective, while metal is rigid, strong, and opaque. But these materials share one important quality: both are soft when heated which allows them to be sculpted. Paley’s dynamic sculptures create a new interaction between these contrasting materials. His careful consideration of how glass and steel work together exemplifies his artistic commitment to innovation and experimentation, an attitude which has defined his prolific career.

“I’m interested in the potential of glass as a sculptural material, not as something being framed by metal”, says Paley. “I want glass and metal to be equal partners. Glass pairs beautifully with steel because it creates a dialogue of opposites. The contour, clarity and color of glass – metal responds to that. I want to literally fuse them together. I have always liked that idea: yin and yang, a sense of unity.”

Museum of Glass curator, Katie Buckingham, is thrilled to bring this acclaimed sculptor to Tacoma. “Complementary Contrasts is the celebration of nearly twenty years of Paley’s exploration and experimentation of sculpting with metal and glass. This journey has resulted in an innovative body of work which plays off of the energetic similarities and dynamic contrasts of glass and steel.”

In addition to the exhibition, Albert Paley will continue to explore innovative new techniques to sculpt with glass and metal through a residency at Museum of Glass January 17-21, 2018.

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