He is one of the handful of really first-rate sculptors of his generation,” says Brett Waller about the artist Peter Shelton. Waller, director emeritus of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has just finished curating the first exhibition of Shelton’s work in Indianapolis since 1987 at the Herron Galleries at IUPUI’s Herron School of Art and Design. “godspipes,” a collection of 143 translucent fiberglass and lead forms that Shelton created in the 1990s, will open with a public reception, featuring a talk by Shelton March 21 from 5-8 p.m. Shelton will speak at 6:30 p.m.
Shelton, who is now in his 50s, has been said to work in the tradition of Henry Moore. His work has also been compared to contemporaries Martin Puryear and Tony Cragg. “All came of age in the period of Minimalism,” Waller says, “and all opted for something more nearly figurative, with some narrative content.”
Waller and Shelton have also been linked locally through Waller’s leadership of the committee charged with commissioning artists to create work for the expanded Central Library. That committee chose Shelton to create works of cast bronze for the two pedestals that have remained unadorned since the original building’s completion. As William Taylor, a library board member, said in 1917: “I hope that the public will not come to think of this new library as entirely complete until the two great pedestals on the south side are occupied.”
To which Waller adds, “It’s obvious this is like a stage set waiting for the actors.”
Shelton has created two complementary pieces, “Tall Man” and “Little Bird,” to enliven the library’s south-facing façade. The sculptures, paid for with private funds, are scheduled to be installed in August or September.
The exhibit at Herron will be up through April 27. For information, call 317-278-9418.