Peter Halley’s Blockbusters, Terry R. Myers, ArtReview [17/2/2023]
A new show at Karma, Los Angeles, foregrounds some of the most balanced unbalanced paintings out there today
It didn’t seem possible that ‘unbalanced’ would ever be used to describe a set of Peter Halley paintings, but – wait, just kidding, it still doesn’t apply, not in the case of these ten new paintings shown at Karma’s flawless space in Los Angeles. They may be the most balanced unbalanced paintings out there today. In them Halley’s signature conduit and prison-cell geometric motifs have been reconfigured into shaped canvases that bring to mind the careful yet playful joinery of Memphis-style furniture, not to mention videogames like Tetris or, better yet, Tricky Towers. (Strikingly, the conduits have been removed, suggesting that the structural fitting-together of the paintings is now where all the connectivity operates.) Many of these new paintings may be top-heavy, but surely none of them will topple. Some of them look like they’re levitating, but they are still heavy, no matter how flamboyant their colours and configurations may be.