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New York–based painter Peter Halley (b. 1953) rose to prominence in the mid-1980s as a central figure in the Neo-Conceptualist movement. His artificially textured geometric compositions painted in jarring fluorescent hues drew upon Pop art and Minimalist abstraction. Halley complicates the presumed neutrality of Minimalism by employing its emblematic stylistic components—such as nonhierarchical composition and unmodulated color—to critique the totalizing networks and systems governing contemporary life in the digital era. In his silver metallic prison-grid painting Yesterday (2019), Halley has jammed together eleven of his prison-icons into a stifling, claustrophobic composition. This airless grid, painted in a gentle, shimmering metallic light, speaks to the artist’s stoic pessimism about humanity’s future prospects.
Photo: Roxanne Lowit, 2017