Arts & Culture

How Does the Museum's Sculpture Garden Grow?


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2010) − The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky has installed three striking additions to its outdoor sculpture garden by renowned artists Peter Woytuk and Albert Paley. A public unveiling and celebration of the works is scheduled at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, in the garden, located between the Singletary Center for the Arts and the UK Student Center.

Two works by Peter Woytuk, whom the International Herald Tribune has called, "the greatest animal sculptor of the Western world in the closing years of the 20th century," were purchased for the museum by its Collectors, a group of members whose higher-level dues are dedicated to buying art. Woytuk’s bronze sculpture, "The Pair," and his "Raven Bench" demonstrate both a subtle sense of humor, as well as his command of traditional bronze casting techniques and use of lush patinas. "The Pair" features a pair of pears distilled (melded) into a sensuous organic form. His "Raven Bench" features an inquisitive raven, a bird noted for its intelligence and playful manner, perched atop an 11-foot-long slab of weathered stone.

"It’s been our pleasure to work as a group with the museum to research and find the perfect outdoor sculptures for the garden," said Kim Knight, president of the Collectors. "We hope that 'The Pair' and 'Raven Bench' will serve as an invitation to the public to come in and enjoy the rest of our wonderful collection."

The Art Museum at UK's third new addition to the sculpture garden is a monumental work by Albert Paley, the first metal sculptor to receive the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects. "Sylvan," an 18-foot-tall steel sculpture, features forms derived from the natural world and incorporates both a natural weathered patina and colorful painted elements.

"We want the sculpture garden to be a destination, a place that will draw visitors to stay and enjoy the pieces," said Art Museum at UK Director Kathy Walsh-Piper. "The Collectors choice is a piece both accessible and beautiful. I want to congratulate our Curator Janie Welker and the Collectors for this gift to the community."

Woytuk studied art and photography at Kenyon College in Ohio and later apprenticed with Connecticut sculptor Philipp Grausman. He now lives in Thailand most of the time, where there are foundries that can accommodate his large bronze sculptures. His work is in many public collections, including the City of Santa Fe; the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota; the Children's Garden of the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif.; Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J.; Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio; the American Red Cross in Bangkok; the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro; and Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Based in Rochester, N.Y., Paley has completed more than 60 site-specific works for public and private collections in a career spanning three decades. Notable examples include a 120-foot-long entryway sculpture in Forest Park for the St. Louis Zoological Park in Missouri; the Portal Gates for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; the Portal Gates for the New York State Senate Chambers in Albany; rotunda gates for a State Courthouse in San Francisco; and the main entrance gates for the Naples Museum of Art, Naples, Fla. Pieces by Paley can be found in the permanent collections of many major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.