George Tooker, Voice I, 1963

Tooker often included framing devices that heightened the psychological tension in a painting, this one being no exception. Here it appears that these two men were forced into adjoining boxes. One man listens through the wall to an identical man whispering secrets to him. The listener’s eyes widen with worry and anxiety.⁠⠀
Tooker’s work tackles the alienation and isolation that many people feel on a daily basis as they go through their lives in a capitalist society. The flatness of the egg tempera creates dream-like images, although Tooker did not characterize himself as a Surrealist. He said “I am after painting reality impressed on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream, but I am not after painting dreams as such, or fantasy.”⁠

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