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Unbridled art

Sometimes it is obvious that a person is in a particular place and time to fulfill a grander purpose. Perhaps this was the case for artist Andre Pater, whose work is featured in A Matter of Light: The Art of Andre Pater, (Fincastle Publishing, $85). 

The 200-page coffee table book features over 200 photos and illustrations, along with interesting essays. 

Born in Poland in 1953, Pater was fascinated by horses at a young age, observing them waiting with their wagons at the local farmers market. His interest would grow tremendously during a summer visit to the countryside at age 6, when he even learned to drive a farm wagon just to be granted more time with the horses. He called the magnificent animals his doodle of choice. 

When the time for formal education came, Pater chose to study interior architecture as a way to appease his father, who didn’t approve of a career as an artist. Despite the attempt to follow a different path, art beckoned Pater back with opportunities to show and profit from his work. 

During a 1981 visit to New York City, his destiny materialized. Martial law had been imposed in Poland, leading to his family’s urging to make the United States his new home. Little did Pater know what awaited him. Only six years later, a wrong turn in Lexington took Pater through the heart of horse country, paradise to a lifelong equine fan. 

Pater assimilated into Kentucky life and the equine social scene with ease, forming close relationships with well-known figures in the industry, such as his neighbor, Penny Chenery, who converted her pool house into a painting studio for his use. From there, success came quickly, with shows selling out of his pieces in mere minutes. 

Today, art collectors join waiting lists just to purchase his work, sometimes sight unseen, praising his masterful use of light and extreme attention to detail that draw the viewer’s eye to the exact points of strength and movement in the animals he paints. However, it’s not this critical acclaim that affirms Pater, who describes his biggest reward as “finding the person who wants to live with the piece” he has created. 

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