Albert Paley Inducted Into Gallery of Success
Around the time Albert Paley (BFA '66, MFA '69) was 18 years old he had a mutual friend who was enrolled at Tyler. He had been doing artwork on his own for some time and decided to visit the campus.
"That's when it was in Elkins Park," Paley said, "And it was just amazing, the versatility of the programs."
With a limited amount of money, Paley decided to give Tyler a try.
"After the first six months, I was hooked," Paley said.
As an undergrad, he majored in sculpture and minored in metals.
"I was really drawn to the discipline and the process of metalworking," Paley said. "So I actually got a teaching assistantship and I taught at Tyler in the Sculpture Department and also in the Metals Department."
He received his Master's Degree in Goldsmithing when he graduated in 1969.
"Then I went to Rochester Institute of Technology to teach the goldsmithing program and also had my own studio," Paley said. "I taught for about 25 years there and also at the SUNY System at Brockport Campus. Now, I have a chair at Rochester Institute, so I don't formally teach."
Over his career, Paley has become a world renowned sculptural artist for his work in both goldsmithing and large scale public work.
"One of the reasons I'm drawn to art is the process of art is one that's very present. It makes demands upon you to evaluate and see what's possible at any point and time. It deals with investigation, it deals with developing perception, and its a very vital process," Paley said. "That's something that has sustained me throughout all these years."
When Paley made the transition from goldsmithing to public art, he found that the process was mostly his artwork evolving to a larger magnitude.
"Basically if somebody wears a piece of jewelry and they go out it becomes public," Paley said. "Initially the goldsmithing was for bodily adornment, for jewelry. I also was involved with other objects, like tea pots or chalices for churches, and then I started working with iron. In 1972 there was a competition for gates for the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery, and based on my design background and my ability to work with metal I received that commission which brought me into contact with architecture."
Currently, Paley has his largest endeavor ever on display on New York City's Park Avenue. Coming up, he will have a 50 year retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Being inducted to Temple's Gallery of Success is something that Paley says brings back many memories.
"In many ways I've never left here, I mean Temple University and Tyler kind of opened those perceptual doors for me and allowed me to develop professionally, and so its always kind of a touchstone. To be back here after all this time is quite nostalgic," Paley said. "Obviously its quite an honor to be, of all the people who've come through here, acknowledged for my work. Its very nice."
For students hoping to have a career like Paley's, he recommends having discipline, hard work, and hopefully a lot of luck along the way.
"I think probably the main attribute though is one's own personal integrity because, hopefully, even though it might be in the public arena, you're creating a personal statement to engage and experience with other individuals," Paley said. "Basically art is based in humanism and how we engage as a society. To bring your own personal skills to that is a very private, kind of intimate challenge."