A dozen years ago, Albert Paley turned from smithing gold to smithing iron, and struck oil. His forge near Rochester, New York, is so successful that Paley is able to refuse commissions for settings and concepts that don't meet his creative standards.
As his show at the Fendrick Gallery illustrates, iron lets Paley add a third dimension to free-flowing line drawings. His gates, tables, candlesticks, lecterns and plant stands are all deft doodles, lines that twist and convolute from any angle, going on and on with no beginning and no end.
Immediately apparent also are the fourth and fifth dimensions of Paley's iron art: size and weight. They dominate their space. You daydream, say, of the dining table with its inch-thick Belgian glass top in your home, but what else could you put in the room of an ordinary dwelling that could keep pace and scale?
So too his Hawaiian parabolic gate, eight feet high and more than four feet wide. Your sturdy brick garden wall is inadequate: These creations are for edifices.
The next edifice in this area to feature Paley iron will be the Tysons Corner Clyde's restaurant due to open in late spring. Paley's columns and railings were trucked down from Rochester this past week. The owners are pleased enough that they plan to ask for more.
The Paley iron show continues at the Fendrick Gallery, 3059 M Street NW, through January 12.