Purdue University is pleased to announce the acquisition and installation of Albert Paley's 2013 Envious Composure made possible through the generous support of the Lonsford Fund.
Paley (b. 1944) was raised in Philadelphia and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Originally recognized for his jewelry, in the 1970s he began to produce modernist large-scale, architectural works in steel which garnered him international fame. His work can be seen in the collections of the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery, the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga, the New York State Capital in Albany, the St. Louis Zoo, the V&A in London, along Gloucester Street in Toronto, and the Strong Museum in Rochester. Identifiable for his dynamic and powerfully sinuous forms, Paley states, "In creating a work of art, besides my personal experience, my concern is how it emotionally and intellectually engages the viewer" (Artist Statement, n.d.).
Envious Composure is part of a series of thirteen large sculptures installed along Park Avenue in New York City in 2013 and served as the cover image for the book Albert Paley on Park Avenue. The work displays a constrained energy, twisting and turning in space, the forms coiling into themselves creating a sense of tightly wound tension.
According to the artist:
My sculptures combine gestural or folded metal within an otherwise rational or geometric structure. I equate it with the way cloth drapes, delineates, covers, and reveals the human figure in classic Greco-Roman sculpture. I also feel it has a kinship to the way sixteenth century Dutch still life paintings celebrates the profusion of form and color in bouquets of flowers and also includes the few fallen flower petals to express the transitory reality of beauty, nature, and life. I seek to arrest both the physical and emotional ephemerality of time and motion (Gribaudo, 2013).
Made of polychromed steel, it stands at a little over eighteen feet tall and seven feet wide. It is installed at the First Street Suites on Mitch Daniels Boulevard. The work joins other large, steel outdoor sculpture on Purdue's West Lafayette campus including Preston Jackson's 2014 Distant Paths in Founder's Park, Faustino Aizkorbe's 2002 Transformation on the Agriculture Mall, and Betty Gold's 1986 Kaikoo VI at Pickett Memorial Park.