Rainbow Piece sculpture gets a fresh coat of paint

A vibrant Rainbow Piece

Hugh LeRoy’s Rainbow Piece, a series of different coloured arched tubes in the reflecting pool on the south side of Scott Library, got a new coat of paint last week.

The colours on the original five tubes had faded badly and there was graffiti  sun bleached Rainbow Piece sculptureon the surface, said John Thomson, manager of Library Facilities. Maintenance staff from Campus Services & Business Operations (CSBO) spent four days sanding the fiberglass structure and repainting it with fiberglass paint matching the original colours.

A sun-bleached Rainbow Piece

Purchased in 1972, Rainbow Piece is one of the University’s earliest outdoor sculpture acquisitions. Considered an example of constructivist art, it is situated in a reflecting pool that captures its shifting image with the changing light and wind.

“The reflecting pond is an important design element of the Scott Library, especially today when we quickly reply to e-mail and text-mail with very little reflection,” says University Librarian Cynthia Archer. “I find the rainbow playful. It represents one of nature’s beautiful phenomena and is often linked with the idea of ‘good things to come’.”

Most of the 20,000 daily visitors to Scott Library pass the window overlooking the reflecting pond and its rainbow, she says. “Keeping the artwork and the pond attractive is important to students and faculty.”


A vibrant Rainbow Piece

A vibrant Rainbow Piece in earlier days

“It’s one of the most photographed pieces of art” on Keele campus, says Thomson. He should know. The sculpture is just outside his office window on the first floor of Scott Library. Children from the daycare often visit during campus strolls.

The artist, Hugh LeRoy, taught visual arts at York for many years and is now retired. Born in Montreal, the sculptor studied under Arthur Lismer and Louis Dudek. His work has been exhibited across Canada and is found in many private collections. Among his major commissions are sculptures for the Justice Building in Ottawa and the Banff Centre. He has also had solo shows at Toronto’s Olga Korper Gallery.

This is the second time the work has been restored since York purchased it in 1972, said Thomson. This time, CSBO and University Libraries collaborated on the restoration project.

Rainbow Piece is featured on the Art Gallery of York University’s summer sculpture tours (YFile, Aug. 5, 2010), which resume in May.