Toy Horse No. 184 1979
Harold Town, Toy Horse No. 184, 1979
Ink and acrylic on paper, 73.6 x 92.7 cm
During the 1970s Town made several series of works on paper in which he uses a variety of media to explore the wide range of ideas and associations that can be evoked by the manipulation of style. Inspired by an antique rocking horse, Town’s Toy Horse series has a fairy-tale quality—but a fairy tale for grown-ups. This image, Toy Horse No. 184, evokes a nightmare atmosphere, as the horse’s anatomy transforms into abstracted machine forms. Town colours in a vivid orange background and then fills in the dynamic silhouette of the horse’s body with intricate geometric details using a mechanical pen. The horse is frozen in mid-gallop, and our eyes linger with fascination—and repulsion at the strange growths that invade its anatomy.