This two-thirds lifesize figure is one of my earliest attempts at symbolist and allegorical work. Really, it's a work I did without really understanding why; it evolved instinctively, and its not-quite understood genesis was the first step that led me towards Symbolist motives and mysterious narrative. This work also marks my first foray into Allegory, a path I've largely abandoned in favor of less Classical, more individualistic character types and archetypes.
I've always been a bit bored with traditional forms of allegorical representation in sculpture; usually, it's done using a semi-classical figure holding some attribute of the allegorical motif - i.e., 'Abundance' holding a cornucopia. I thought that allegories should actively reflect in the pose what they're meant to represent. In coming up with a solution, I realized that the motif might best be portrayed by illustrating its opposite; hence, the seemingly hopeless situation of the figure in this piece.
The bound and hooded figure holds a knife in her hand, and is shown in the act of simultaneously cutting the rope and her wrist. The outcome of this scenario is intentionally left uncertain. The hood serves as a symbol of oppression, but its most important function in the work is to negate the individuality of the figure. Traditionally, allegorical sculptures have had generalized or classicized faces, rather than a naturalistic face and expression, which might imply a particular individual within a narrative. The hood was my way of avoiding such classicism, while still retaining a sense of an allegorical narrative.