The ‘Balance of Life’ is a reflection upon the frustrations and futilities of many peoples lives in modern society.
In one way it was a new departure for me in that the harlequin was entirely painted – not my first painted figure but the first time I had substituted different timbers and inlays for coloured pigment. This was no easy option; painting small diamonds on a curved surface is tricky and every one needed at
least three coats.
The figure is mounted on a welded steel plinth. He stands on a marble ball to which a steel rod is attached running through a hole in the marble top. At the bottom end of the rod is a ball of haematite, for weight. By this means the figure rocks and sways just as we are rocked by the vagaries of fortune.
Harlequin, by nature feckless and inept, is in dire straits. Wobbling dangerously on his ball, he is about to lose his love (the heart), his children (the teddy bear), his home (the key falling from his belt) and his money (the gold coins falling from his money bag). His hat represents the protection of society, which is falling away and worst of all, his mask, representing his pride and persona is slipping away.
Below the figure are four painted panels showing the career of this unfortunate man. Firstly harlequin is pushing a stone uphill – a familiar image of the
drudgery of work.
In the second he is the emasculated houseman, sweeping the floor while his wife pleasures herself with another.
In the third, he appeals for help. Crippled, he knocks on the hospital door which is firmly locked against him.
Finally, he turns to the bottle and the relief of insensibility.
Well, that’s life
Limewood & mixed media
54 inches / 137 cm high