24 Frames, 2017
Acrylic, day-glo acrylic, Roll-a-Tex on canvas
211 × 232 × 10 cm
In the 80s, Peter Halley has developed a distinctive aesthetic language that includes several basic geometric forms created with Day-Glo fluorescent acrylic paints and Roll-a-Tex textured additive. These new colors and commodity-like materials used to create minimalist spaces put into questions the rigidity and supposed neutrality of Minimalism itself. Over time, Halley complexified his work by gradually increasing the number of cells, conduits and prisons in his compositions.
Artist’s paintings contextualised by the urban environment of his native New York: rectilinear forms are deliberately reminiscent of engineering diagrams, corporate flow charts, and the blueprints of prisons and clinics.
A significant influence on Halley’s thinking was a philosopher Michel Foucault. In Foucault’s definitive book ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’, the author suggests that prison forms part of a larger network that comprises schools, military institutions, hospitals, and factories – all of which build a panoptic society for its members and, ultimately, create a structure of surveillance, discipline, and dependency via geometric space.
“The idea of stylistic change is not important to me because I see my work as research into certain issues rather than as an attempt to create a stylistic statement.”
– Peter Halley