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Object: Street corner

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Title Street corner
Production Killeen, Richard (artist), 1969, Auckland
Medium summary oil on canvas
Materials oil paint, canvas
Classification paintings
Dimensions Image: 1650mm (Height) x 1655mm (Length)
Frame: 1673mm (Height) x 1680mm (Width) x 45mm (Depth)
Credit line Purchased 1994 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
Registration number 1994-0021-1

In this painting of a surburban street corner by Richard Killeen, men and women wear interchangeable identities and expressions. While working on Street Corner, Killeen used full-sized paper cut-outs of people, which he constructed on his studio wall and then transferred to the canvas. This technique assisted him in achieving the graphic precision of the image, which also relates to an awareness of pop art.

The suburbs and the city
Immediately before Street Corner, Killeen had painted a number of highly stylised suburban interiors and exteriors with people rendered in simple outline and block colour. Here, the same generic people become part of a crowd, their faces voided and without their domestic props and context. Killeen has written: 'For me this work is about the city and city rhythms. About the paradox of being anonymous but part of a group.'

The space between things
In the late 1960s, Killeen was moving toward the cut-outs for which he is now best known. These works, in which aluminium shapes are cut out and assembled on the wall, meant that the space between the individual items and images formed part of the artwork. Paintings such as Street Corner reveal the way in which Killeen began to analyse the relationships between the subject and space. There is little depth or interest in the background of Street Corner, and each person seems like a discrete unit with little relationship to the group.

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