The bold vibrantly- coloured geometric shapes contrast with the robust industrial structures and volumes of the gallery spaces at Stuart Shave/Modern Art in Helmet Row – architecture and art complementing each other.
Whereas Do Ho Suh at Victoria Miro created facades, entrances, passages and staircases of buildings with all the intricate details of panelled joinery, ironmongery, electrical fittings and conduits, New York artist Peter Halley (born 1953) strips buildings and their systems to the most minimal of geometric shapes – which he blasts with colour – and the connections between them which are black conduits. Peter Halley received his He received his BA from Yale University in 1975 – the same year I received my BArch from Strathclyde University!
The selection of Halley’s early work from the 1980’s includes drawings and studies on square grid paper which perhaps gives a hint of how his large paintings developed. In these early studies, a residential block and a prison block are identical, apart from the bars on the prison windows. The question for society is who lives in the prison? This is the decade in which Halley came to prominence with his first solo show in New York City’s East Village in 1985. In the 21st century, he could add residential blocks for students and for the elderly into the mix – all have similarities.
Is there a relationship with Do Ho Suh’s work? Do Ho Suh focusses on the spaces and passages that people pass through in their lives, Peter Halley also creates an imagery of conduits connecting different spaces, in his case reflecting the divisions of social spaces of the world in which we live and the connections between them.
In his later work here, Halley strips street signs down to their graphic geometries. In future decades, hopefully the subject of a future exhibition, Halley extends his same artistic philosophy into larger urban groups and into complete immersive geometric interiors.