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Cast paper heads off his iconic sculptures.
Feeling Pushed captures Robert Arneson at an especially stressful moment in his life. Two years earlier, he had been diagnosed with cancer, possibly caused by the chemicals contained in his art materials. He underwent surgery and was required to return to the hospital numerous times. Despite this serious threat to his health, Arneson injects humor into his self-portrait, even vulgarity. His face seems to be pushed up against a piece of transparent glass that flattens his nose into a piggish snout, while his wild hair and wrinkled features expresss the tension and anxiety that characterize his state of mind. The artist appears like a specimen prepared for a microscopic examination. Areneson frequently turned to self-portraiture as a means to examine his relationship with the world, expressing serious thought and difficult emotional content through the filter of a humorous mask.