The most startling feature of this subject is that he appears to have a shell of dull, rusted metal covering the majority of his body, creeping over his face to leave only a small portion of skin left exposed. There can be no doubt that rather than a statue, this is a human being in a state of change.
The metal is a symbolic construct, intended to show the darker, destructive side to the ‘Iron Man’ as a cultural concept. Rather than being an indefatigable figure, possessing true grit, as may be true of individuals described as ‘iron men’, this subject is closing off from the outside world behind an impenetrable shell.
This is behavior often associated with the traditionally masculine. Not allowing vulnerabilities to be exposed, whether they are emotional or physical, is a common trait of the masculine as a need to express oneself in any capacity may be viewed as weakness. In this piece then, the shell the subject has raised by keeping himself from the viewer is all consuming and corrosive. Its jagged edges and unbending nature cause the subject to seize up and make him crumble. This ‘Iron Man’ is destroying himself through the very method he would use to protect himself, illustrating a self-destructive behavior common in the masculine psyche.