The Washington Post

Truth is stranger than fiction at Heiner Contemporary

The painting "Freud and Jung," by Elizabeth Huey, is based on a photograph of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung unwinding in a pool hall during a 1908 American lecture tour. (Heiner Contemporary)

Now, about the art.

Huey, who studied psychology at George Washington University, uses a kind of painterly collage process, appropriating images from old black-and-white photographs, postcards and advertisements as her reference material and re-imagining them as luridly colored — and often surreal seeming — tableaus. “Freud and Jung,” for instance, features the famous psychoanalysts playing billiards.

The scene seems nutty, like something out of a dream. But Huey insists it’s true.(You can look it up. The two men were, in fact, friends. And there is a 1908 photo of them unwinding during an American lecture tour by shooting pool. Other paintings are just as outlandish seeming, and just as based on historical fact.)

The effect of this and other works, which range in price from $1,500 to $19,000, is theatrical and slightly disorienting. The images are not quite plausible, yet not entirely fantastic either.

Though gallery owner Margaret Heiner says her personal tastes run to traditional figuration — a summer group show will feature portraits of women by women — she hopes to mix things up with future exhibitions, offering photography, video, sculpture, drawing and installation.

On June 18 at 5 p.m., Huey will give a free gallery talk about her work.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Michael O’Sullivan has worked since 1993 at The Washington Post, where he covers art, film and other forms of popular — and unpopular — culture.


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