One of my favorite works is Compulsion by Tony Paterson... This bronze sculpture is made up of strong angular lines depicting a woman astride a man. It manages to be at once both massive and erotic. The lovers arms are one, stretching up and reaching down, and their bodies below the waist merge into a solid block of bronze. The whole emphasizes the essentials of lovemaking—there is nothing else for these people to do—and the same time reminds one of insects; there is the same compulsion to mate, the same delicate but powerful efficient lines.It seems to me that a park such as this is sorely needed... I had a personal experience of this when viewing Compulsion. A small boy came up and confidently explained to me that it was in fact a horse, whereupon he sat on it to prove his point. And who’s to say he’s wrong?
During over 35 years that I have known Tony, he is one of the rare sculptors that I have known with his exceptional ability. He is altogether serious. He is a hard worker. He is a superb craftsman. He is a powerful draughtsman. He is an accomplished sculptor. [His] new stuff looks damned good.I had no idea the size of your foundry. It seemed to me that you have created the most complete foundry I have ever seen. You and your students can do just about anything that can be done with metal. I hope the University has recognized your achievement. How did you persuade them to invest what must have been a lot of money in an enterprise of that size?Your work is beautifully-made. The imagery seems to move from sexual imagery (life) to death imagery. They all look like religious ritual images to me. I can see why you are so enamored of those extravagant and magnificent Mayan and Aztex mysteries.
[Tony Paterson] is one of the few gifted sculptors today working in the figurative tradition. He has undertaken works of rare ambition. He is genuinely driven toward a personal vision; and he has stubbornly resisted an easier course taken by less tenacious sculptors. He works with patience that is admirable, and his energy is an inspiration to those associated with him. It is my feeling that his abilities as a sculptor have been overlooked. I have the greatest respect for him as a sculptor.
I am amazed by [Tony Paterson’s] energy, especially the damned handsome sculpture titled “Compulsion.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive your letter regarding your retrospective with such a comprehensive description of your career in sculpture. You have done it all! I am very impressed by your mastery of such a variety of materials and methods of working. Congratulations on your success in reaching such a responsive audience. With your knowledge, energy, drive and your prolific output, I’m looking forward to seeing much more of your work.
Tony, your sculpture looks very strong and interesting in form. “Compulsion” comes across especially...
To me it seems that the power of the inner space that lingers between the psyche and the spirit that comes into conflict and sometimes resolution is forcefully expressed in his work. There is a darkness here that may seem ominous but is actually a proclamation of what is… is. There is also an explosive sexual energy that relates to the dynamics of life itself, declaring a reality that exploits the physical connection between body and soul… all of the works here have a monumental quality about them.
I recently had the good fortune of being selected as a visiting fellow to the casting Institute to work with Tony Paterson. I could not believe the amount of resources that Tony had recruited for the department. What was so amazing to me was the ingenuity with which he had dovetailed the concerns [of clients] with those of the art department and students. Also, I might add that I am inspired with what Tony has orchestrated with your Department to host visiting artists there in exchange for foundry experience. In short, I think what you are doing there at SUNY in your casting Institute is brilliant.
What a magnificent Comprehensive Show! The large plaster pieces in the conference room loomed monumental and mysterious. The Phil Elliott bronze is a terrific likeness—as is the wonderful Seymour Knox portrait that is now “temporarily” in a not-too-conductive site at UB’s Poetry Collection. It just may need more breathing space because it’s terrifically “alive.”P.S.: I still remember with clarity one drawing that outdoes Henry Moore at his own game.
I truly appreciated your sending me your catalogues of your recent dynamic sculpture, Sex, Bronze and The Human Form. Real fine life’s body of meaningful sculpture in the taut forms.