Leonard Urso’s Prophets at Legacy Tower

Photography and text by  George Cassidy Payne

While waiting for the elevator inside the Legacy Tower (formerly the Bausch and Lomb Building), I took a few moments to admire Leonard Urso’s magnificent sculpture piece entitled Prophets.

For me, Prophets evokes fertility goddesses from an ancient civilization. The tall, aerodynamic figures (all women) appear to be either conferring, supervising, or bearing witness to some event. What that event could be is, of course, a matter left to the viewer to decide. Could it be the birth of a child? Standing erect with arms behind their waists, I wonder if their prophecy has come true at last.

One thing is for sure, there is no mistaking its capacity to move viewers into a state of higher contemplation.

Legacy Tower (formerly the Bausch & Lomb Building) is at 1 Bausch & Lomb Place . It is the second tallest building in Rochester, standing at 401 feet with 20 floors. In the building’s balcony is a magnificent sculpture by Leonard Urso called Prophets.

Len Urso “Leonard Urso was born in 1953 and grew up in Rome, New York. His pursuit of art began when he was a young man and eventually led him to study at the State University of New Paltz. After graduating with a Master of Fine Arts Degree, Leonard began his professional career as a designer and silversmith for Oneida Ltd. Silversmiths. Currently Leonard holds an endowed chair as the Ann Mowris Mulligan Distinguished Professor in the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Leonard Urso art studio is located in Rochester, New York where Leonard is actively involved in creating large and small scale sculptures, paintings. Leonard’s art is exhibited nationally and internationally. His art works are represented in several museums and both corporate and private collections. Several of these include Gyeongnam Art Museum of South Korea, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester, Shanghai University of China, Kanazawa University of Japan, The New York Times, Bucknell University, The Times Mirror Company, Humana Inc., Bausch & Lomb World Headquarters, Colgate University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Garth Fagen Dance, Sybron Corporation, and The Washington Post. “ Information taken from: http://artoncampus.rit.edu/artist/261/

Landmarks link us to our past—and they inspire us to do good work that will last well into the future. —Richard Margolis in Rochester Landmarks

In the lobby is a suspended armillery, a Renaissance-era tool used to determine planetary orbits.

Acknowledging the full history of human existence has helped to shape my vision as a contemporary person. My role as an artist is to capture human activity as it takes place in the moment, intimately revealing humanity’s most intrinsic qualities. This artwork of mine should bear witness to the stories of our lives and at the same time reflect the depth of our past. Though personal, these stories are not about me, they are shared experiences that reflect our collective self. -Leonard Urso