Waddington Custot Galleries are pleased to present an exhibition of thirteen new paintings by New York artist Peter Halley. These new works introduce an absurdist, satiric dimension to the artist's work, brought about by Halley's risky, unexpected use of color and the off-kilter, almost slapstick quality of his imagery. Compact in size, the paintings all measure less than five feet in any dimension.
In these paintings, Halley's prisons are now lifted unexpectedly into the air, held up only by conduits put into service as structural supports. In the painting, 'Revenge', a horizontal red prison, its window barricaded by five bars, is supported by a single conduit on the left, cantilevered precariously in front of its teal background. In both 'Cult' and 'Supernatural', a prison hovers supernaturally in the air, no longer affixed to the ground plane, echoing the transcendent floating shapes found in paintings by Mark Rothko or Adolph Gottlieb.
Halley employs fluorescent paint. He creates texture with a commercial paint-thickening agent called Roll-a-Tex. His clean edges are produced with the same masking tape used by housepainters. These commercial techniques remove Halley's work from the abstract realm of diagram and connect it to the world of everyday life. This reference to contemporary culture extends to the titles of Halley's paintings, which are named after American cable television shows like Glee and Suburgatory.
Peter Halley first showed in London at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1989. His works have also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. His work is included in the current exhibition, This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, curated by Helen Molesworth, travelling to Chicago, Minneapolis and Boston. His first exhibition at Waddington Galleries was in 1999. This will be his sixth exhibition at the Galleries in Cork Street.
A fully illustrated catalogue with essay by Dr Jo Melvin will accompany the exhibition.