Waddington Custot Galleries commissioned the present exhibition of exciting new paintings in 2012 and they were completed in 2013. In it, Halley explores the overstimulation of mass communication in the digital age with fluorescent conduits that run along the canvas, connecting cells which could represent a computer chip or a battery cell; but also a cage, or an air conditioning unit. The cells or prisons contained within his paintings are influenced by Michel Foucault and can refer to the systems of control and power behind the architecture of buildings such as prisons.
Halley uses the powdery paint-thickening agent Roll-a-Tex, a decorator’s tool, to create a textured surface on some areas of a painting. This paint mix is a very literal reference to architecture and the building industry. The Roll-a-Tex is also a satirical reference to impasto painting and stucco and also recreates the surface of a motel ceiling. When viewed in contrast to the smooth planes of the rest of the canvas the Roll-a-Tex can be the ‘white noise’ of a television losing signal or a lost telephone connection.
The titles of these new paintings are derived from American television shows. These titles are taken from TV listings and have no real reference to the paintings themselves. Just as Ken Noland took his titles from cheap detective novels, and were unassociative.