“Where once geometry provided a sign of stability, order, and proportion, today it offers an array of shifting signifiers and images of confinement and deterrence.” – Peter Halley
Peter Halley is a contemporary painter, printmaker and writer, best known for his brightly colored, geometrically structured paintings. Being associated with Minimalism and Color Field Painting, he is mainly recognized for his contributions to the Neo-Conceptualist movement of the 1980s. Alongside fellow neo-conceptualists such as Annette Lemieux, Jeff Koons and Sarah Charlesworth, Halley both highlighted and critiqued the roles that technological and physical forces play in an increasingly commodity-driven society. Inspired by New York’s gridded urban plan and his isolation within it, Peter Halley set out to use the language of geometric abstraction to describe the actual geometricized space around him. Apart from urban spaces, his paintings and prints explore geometry through the synthesis of grid structures inspired by digital code systems such as the Internet or circuit diagrams. “Space became geometrically differentiated and partitioned. Circulatory pathways, the omnipresent straight lines of the industrial landscape, were established to facilitate orderly movement,” he wrote. As his minimalist peers, Peter Halley created his artwork with industrial materials, such as Roll-a-Tex, a textured paint used for decoration, fluorescent Day-glo paints or sand. What distinguishes Halley’s geometrical forms from Minimalism, however, is their underlying commentary on physical isolation and digital connectivity of contemporary life. Imagining abstract shapes as barred prison cells connected to the outside world through electronic communication only, he explains his art as a play of relationships between “prisons” and “cells”. Alongside his career as an acclaimed artist, Peter Halley has written various critical theory essays, including Beat, Minimalism, New Wave, and Robert Smithson from 1981 and co-founded “Index” magazine in 1996. His art is held in numerous major museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; and the Art Institute of Chicago. Peter Halley was born in New York City in 1953.
Peter Halley, Organizational Charts