Holding on to the rope above, we witness MacDonald’s uncanny ability to convey a sense of tension and release in Man on a Rope. Near the apex of the triangular composition, we witness a high degree of tension: the figure grasps the rope tightly with his hand, arms and back taut, holding on. As our eye moves along the baroque spiral, following the rope, we witness the change in tension – both in the figure as well as rope. The legs are relaxed, almost dangling, and the rope lightly drapes to the floor. This work exemplifies the artist’s process of becoming visually and physically aware of all aspects of his subject by sculpting from life.