Philip Guston’s Outskirts (1969) is a large and vivid painting depicting hooded figures walking down a road in front of a bleak mountain landscape. This work is one of several paintings that Guston created during his return to figurative art in 1969. Initially, these men were interpreted as embodiments of racism and antisemitism in America, but their significance has since been expanded to encompass broader notions of fear and suffering. This painting is an example of Guston’s continued exploration into both conscious and subconscious representations of the world, something he would go on to further explore in Head (1975). In this work, the face of a figure stares directly outwards towards the viewer, prompting contemplation of themes such as identity and vulnerability. Together, Outskirts and Head represent two sides of the same coin – while one exudes fear, the other encourages quiet reflection.