Mandala No.13: Fear
Acrylic on Canvas,
Mandala No.13: Fear
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Acrylic on Canvas
Gallery-wrapped canvas, finished with gloss acrylic varnish
W: 500mm x H: 500mm x D: 15mm
W: 20" x H: 20" x D: 1"
Approx. Weight: 0.5kg
This work is
About "Mandala No.13: Fear"
Fear makes you small. So this mandala has shrunk down to occupy a small space at the centre of the canvas. Most of the canvas is background, the scary "other" that dominates.
Fear is an ugly picture, it feels uncomfortable, disturbing, something to look away from. In the centre of this mandala are huddled four creatures, back-to-back. Each faces one of the traditional mandala doors, and the doors are just an arrow-slit opening. When you are afraid you have to be constantly on guard. You can never relax. Between the four of them, is a red space, representing their collective sense of danger.
Beyond is a wide open space, kept barren to ensure that any approach can be seen. It's a sickly yellowish green, the colour of fear.
Outside that there is a solid wall topped by what South Africans will recognise as the ubiquitous electric fence, the ultimate symbol of fear. Electric fencing is sold as "security" and yet it makes no-one feel secure. Instead it leaves people trapped in a spider's web of their own fear.
The threat is a high-energy mixture of oranges, reds, browns, purples and blues, all pointing in towards the fear-filled centre. It's alarming, aggressive. But up close the colours are rich and vibrant. This threatening background provides the only beauty in an otherwise ugly painting.
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View all 38 works by Judy Backhouse
I draw and paint because it gives me joy. I am currently working on a series of portraits. Last year I completed a series of mandalas, exploring an old interest in symmetry. Mandalas are symbols of wholeness and change; as such I find them a particularly good vehicle to explore emotions. A lot of my earlier work was based on dreams.
The Mandala Series, 8th - 9th December 2016, Norwood, Johannesburg
New Expressions, 11 February - 3 March 2007, The Art Place, Roosevelt Park, Johannesburg
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