Peter Halley: Scandal (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries) (detail)

Work / Art

New show from Peter Halley explores big ideas through uber colourful works

New York-based artist Peter Halley is, according to his online biography, interested in exploring “the increasing geometricization of social space in the world in which we live.” I think what this means is that he is drawn to the way in which the connected contemporary world is ranged around grids and cells and flows that, whether we can see them or not, underpin almost every aspect of modern life. The 13 new works for his upcoming show in London are painted in retina-jarring day-glo combinations, bringing a sense of colour and even fun to a world of greys most of us only really half understand.

“The cells or prisons contained within his paintings also take influence from Michel Foucault and refer to the oppressive architecture of buildings such as prisons, or make a more general statement on the city as a machine,” we are told and the pictures are named after popular American television shows. Peter uses the decorator’s tool Roll-a-Tex to add texture to his canvases, the overall effect of which he hopes creates a “motel ceiling” type aesthetic. These works are really eye-catching on their own terms but they’re also underpinned by some big, important ideas.

Peter Halley: Paintings 2012-2013 runs at The Waddington Custot Galleries between April 11 and May 3.


Peter Halley: Bang Goes The Theory (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)


Peter Halley: Camp (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)


Peter Halley: Raising Hope I (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)


Peter Halley: Revenge (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)


Peter Halley: Surbugatory (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)


Peter Halley: Glee (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)


Peter Halley: Built (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)


Peter Halley: Scandal (Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)