Peter Halley: Recent Paintings
at Xippas, Paris
October 16, 2021 —January 15, 2022
108, rue Vieille du Temple
For his third personal exhibition in Xippas’ Parisian space, Peter Halley will present his “constructor paintings” for the first time in France. This new cycle of works transcends the conventional form of the square or the rectangle and reorganizes the real in a puzzle that is different each time.
Openly composed of several frames, the new paintings of Peter Halley revolt against flatness. They create an illusion of volume, even a forced perspective, and amplify their architectural character. Blocks of color are juxtaposed like facades in a street view, drawing the profile of the modernist city. The towers rise up, scratching the sky, seeming to stand out from the ground (unless it’s their foundations that sag, as often happens with ivory towers). Grid windows mysteriously glow and create a half-physical, half-digital landscape that could just as easily be the desktop of a laptop screen with multiple apps open simultaneously. Out of nowhere, a science-fiction city appears.
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The artist Peter Halley, photographed outside his studio in Guilford, Conn. Credit Allison Minto
Peter Halley Featured in The New York Times T Magazine
Article by Alice Newell-Hanson
In the 1980s, the artist Peter Halley helped ignite New York’s East Village art scene alongside contemporaries like Jeff Koons and Ashley Bickerton. In 1996, he co-founded the influential arts and culture magazine Index. And between 2002 and 2011, he served as the director of Yale’s M.F.A. painting program. But he is best known for his often gargantuan neon abstract canvases, which he has made in subtly varying forms for four decades (a show of his recent works is currently on view at Dallas Contemporary). Comprising cell-like shapes connected by “conduits,” his paintings are at once luminous and austere, with textured surfaces he laboriously builds up using layers of acrylic frequently mixed with Roll-a-Tex, a surfacing material for houses. A native New Yorker, he works mostly from a 5,000-square-foot studio in West Chelsea, a former industrial building filled with buckets of Day-Glo paint and bins of splattered rollers. But his studio in Connecticut, a modest two-story house wrapped in blackstained shingles that he bought and renovated in 2010, and where he now spends a few days each week, is a very different kind of work space. It serves as both a refuge for making the 17-by-22-inch studies on which his large-scale paintings are based — a meditative process he likens to composing music but with colors instead of chords — and as a memory palace of sorts, filled with furniture and objects from each chapter of his life.
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