Exhibition: Peter Halley

The Waddington Galleries, 11 Cork Street, London, W1S 3LT, 1 June - 30 June 2007

Written by Jayne Halliwell

Now on the whole I am adamantly adverse to the neon soaked design tendencies that many designers are opting for in these crazy nu-rave days. Apart from making me feel nauseous, they generally seem to use bright colours to hide the fact that what they are creating is just bad design. American Peter Halley, as an artist on the other hand has created a new-rave dream, as using such colours in contemporary art are a different matter.

Firstly, they are more considered and also they are not using it as vomit inspired self-promotion tool. With his day-glo colour palette he has created a large-scale installation, painted directly on to the wall, creating a repeated pattern that envelops the room. This is accompanied by a series of large- scale paintings. His works are that of textured paints of bright colours painted in blocks and rectangles, meeting vertical bars and divergent colours. Whilst at Philips Academy in Massachusetts in the late 1960s, Halley read ‘Interaction of Color’ by Josef Alber, which is obviously a text that resonated with him.

Obvious comparisons can be drawn to Mondrian and such like, who drew influences from the Jazz music of the era, but I have a feeling Halley isn’t so much inclined to a bit of New- rave. His compositions come across as computer like, suggesting digital inflences: cells, charts, circuitry and such like. In turn Halley’s work has become increasingly intricate over the years, as he has begun to use the aid of digital design to discover what he calls ‘hallucinated hyper-determined panoptical’. Halley also used to belong to the Neo-Geometric Conceptualist group where he’s expanded on French cultural theorist essays and on that of Simulacra.

I think it his work as an intellect that has allowed his work to manifest as wonderfully composed as it has.

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