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The Busy Fool by John Clark

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The Busy Fool (2017)

John Clark

34 x 51 cm | 13 x 20 in

Subject: People

Original, limited edition sculpture in wood, resin, paper, acrylic, chalk paint and wax 51 x 34 x 26 cm (Dimensions without plinth). Total edition of 6.

"'The busy fool' is a familiar figure in business folklore. He's the unproductive but always working idiot, whose monumental effort brings no reward. His spectre is used to frighten the young and ambitious into 'strategic' thinking. He's the business guru's corrective tale, his Sisyphus. And, writ large, he is contemporary Britain: hard working, unproductive and underpaid. A place where work has become that thing that people do because they can't be bothered doing anything else: the new lazy. This is one of a new series of sculptures in which the figures I've been painting over the last couple of years have cut loose from their moorings, wrestled free from their canvas's and now stand in real space. The technique used to build these is my own confection, combining pattern making, plotting, and injection moulding. Each sculpture in an edition is hand made and finished with a variety of paints, pigments and waxes that are applied as if to a canvas."


John Clark

John Clark’s work forms unique interpretations of modern day identities. Plays of light, tone and shape give Clark’s work a contemporary feel whilst compositional values seemingly cede to the imagery of classical painting. This wide breadth of dexterity gives Clark’s work a unique impact which, in turn, extends the deliciously thought provoking effect of each effigy. There is something undoubtedly familiar about certain pieces. Clark has a captivating style, with underlying messages including the desolation and irony of the modern workplace ethos. Figurative depictions with clever illusions of space give a satisfying sense of depth.

Clark's paintings emerge and mark a pause; signals that something has been glimpsed and might be noted. That the carefully rendered models are figures, lends a complicating narrative dimension to work that might otherwise simply be about the play of light and shade across objects in space.

More original works by John Clark