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Freudian Painting

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acrylic and Roll-a-Tex on unprimed canvas
72 x 144 in. (182.88 x 365.76 cm)

About This Artwork

Since the early 1980s, Peter Halley has focused a substantial portion of his painting practice on the subject of cells, conduits, and systems. Halley uses these forms as a metaphor, a mode of exploring the evolving role of compartmentalization and isolation as technology changes. Freudian Painting is straightforward and anti-illusionistic. Halley uses the unprimed canvas as negative space outside the two prison cells, and again behind the bars of the windows, representing interior space. Roll-A-Tex, a commercial paint texturizer popular in 1970s and 80s home decorating, creates the texture of the buildings, sitting on top of and standing in contrast to the canvas. The painting evokes binary thinking: black and white, male and female, rich and poor, and the zeros and ones of a digital world. The structures are total, stark, and difficult to transcend.