Albert Paley's monumental work, "Soliloquy," the fourth and final of the recent major commissions for the Memorial Art Gallery's Centennial Sculpture Garden, was installed Tuesday morning. The artist says that the 25-foot-tall, site-specific sculpture's title makes reference to the MAG as a cultural institution, and the fact that when individuals respond to artwork -- be it music or visual art -- an introspective, internal dialogue takes place that hopefully has a transformative aspect to it.
The soaring, multicolored, steel work greets visitors as they approach the North Goodman entrance to the MAG's campus. The form is dynamic from all sides, characterized by Paley's love of integrating opposites, and of combining the grounded forms with those that allude to the ephemeral. Here, a silver geometric base is wrapped with vibrant organic forms. Green and yellow foliage fronds encircle the central structure, a red sphere resembles a rising or setting sun, and a blue, rippled ribbon form with a fascinating illusion of weightlessness seems ready to float away into the clear autumn air.
The colorful nature of the piece is sure to be an even more welcome sight when the trees have shed their own hues, and the winter white-washes and grays settle over us.
"Soliloquy" joins the previously installed Sculpture Park works by Jackie Ferrara, Tom Otterness, and Rochester's Wendell Castle, among other works acquired in years past. "I'm proud that two of the four artists chosen are such iconic figures in Rochester's history, who are highly respected artists by us and by the world," says MAG Director Grant Holcomb, adding that it is a "privilege and an honor" for MAG's two entrances to be marked by the works of Paley and Castle.
Paley's sculpture is ringed by stone seating and will be surrounded by flowers and plants in warmer weather. The artist says he thinks of the space as having a "foyer function" for the MAG, in that it will provide a peaceful place to stop and rest before and after visiting the gallery.
MAG's Centennial celebration continues with "Memory Theatre," an exhibition that opens on October 6 and continues through December 29. For more information and updates, visit mag.rochester.edu.