Harlequins have been a recurring theme in my work for many years. I rarely, if ever, intentionally paint one. Rather they seem to emerge spontaneously when I am painting abstractly, or so I think. At a certain point in the painting process I begin to recognize some form of a harlequin emerging. Each harlequin is unique and completely unpredictable. Over the years I’ve come to view the emergence of a harlequin as an omen, a very positive one generally portending something really fun about to happen. Harlequins are, after all, entertainers first and foremost and they want to party!

A second more esoteric aspect of the harlequin is its symbolic meaning as a representation of an unconscious psychic structure known as an archetype. Archetypes are deep psychic structures of the collective unconscious that form the basis of an individual’s personality and the ego’s sense of individual self. Archetypes are psychological templates around which energy circulates, coagulates and ultimately manifests into form. Archetypes are like psychological DNA. Each individual conscious mind is rooted in specific aspects of the archetypal field of consciousness. Because the archetypal field is collective in nature, many seemingly ‘separate’ minds can be plugged into the same aspect of the archetypal field. This is what gives rise to the well known phenomenon of personality types where large groups of individuals share certain specific personality traits.

’Harlequins Are Out”, 48”x48”, mixed latex, acrylic, oil stick, collage on canvas, Denise C. Marts, copyright 2021, all rights reserved