Possibly best known for his 2004 commission “Life Underground”, an installation of dozens of whimsical satirical figures and animals that populate New York’s 14th Street MTA subway station and platform, Tom Otterness’ public sculptures can also be seen on the grounds and in the galleries of some of America’s top museums and in the parks and plazas of cities large and small across the country. International commissions include those in Münster, Germany, Toronto, Canada, Seoul, South Korea, and Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
Though he has been called “the world’s best public sculptor,” by art critic Ken Johnson, Tom Otterness’ playful and amusing small scale figures are equal in strength and parody to their monumental counterparts. In Angry Father, a work which predates his public commissions, Otterness references a desensitization toward violence, depicting a menacing father who bears down on a fleeing child while a second child, seemingly unaffected, looks on with amusement at the unfolding scene. A potentially frightening scenario is mitigated by the cartoonish handling of the figures and vulnerability through nakedness. Patinated in a pleasing dark green, the object’s highlights of light green accentuate volume in what is nearly a two-dimensional sculpture.
Private Collection, Bethesda, Maryland until 2021