Harrie Fasher’s ‘Silent Conversation’ horse sculpture

I’m Harrie Fasher and I’m an artist. The sculpture ‘silent conversation’ is about
the relationship between horses and humans. Generally I work with the horse
as a representation of a human so it’s been quite challenging
to work with it in this way where there is actually a horse
and a figure in one piece. The sculpture is about the quiet
connection that we have with horses, the bond between
horse and rider. The unique relationship
between horse and man. The figure is a woman
in the piece. We keep referring it
to a horse and man, but it’s actually the
horse and a woman. For this work I started with the horse
in full scale in a very skeletal form to work out my personal
relationship with the horse. I then determined what the
human figure was going to do. And in order to work out where the weight
was and where its balance was, I built a small maquette
of the human figure. So the actual making of the sculpture
goes through several phases. There’s the beginning which is just
the initial linear skeletal form. I then start bulking it
out, building up the form, building up the shape of the legs,
filling out the chest area. The head is always a bit problematic,
how the head comes to fruition. I then spend a lot of time
looking at the work. So a lot of time is spent walking
around it, engaging with the sculpture. Nothing is fixed in stone. If something is incorrect
then you have to move it. That’s where drawing comes in
as a problem solving exercise, drawings to resolve where the
weight is in the figure, where the muscle structure
comes into the form. [noise of grinder] It’s a battle of wills making a sculpture, cutting, grinding, bending steel. So it’s heavy work to begin with –
or dirty work. It’s pretty intense work
when you’re working with steel. There’s a point when you’re
making a sculpture, which is I suppose about three-quarters of
the way along, when you begin to see it. It starts coming to life, the
forms start becoming real. And that’s really exciting;
that’s what it’s about. Suddenly you can see your
imagination in real life. This linear line drawn
method of building results in a real energy that
you don’t get with a solid mass. The horse appears to move
as you walk around it. It has a life force. It has become my signature,
these steel rod horses. And they’re very much line drawings
in space, three-dimensional drawings. I think that the physical
form of the horse is innate. I don’t think about it;
I think I understand it. I work instinctively and intuitively
to create these sculptures. It’s my personal belief that our
history with the Australian landscape is integral to who we’ve become and how Australia has got
the identity that it has. If this sculpture
can represent that and convey the importance
of our relationship with the horse and the landscape to generations in the future,
I think that’s a pretty special thing.

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