Polyforms & Conduits

Polyforms & Conduits
Partition Magic – Peter Halley

John Powers makes iterative constructions containing many thousands of tiny elements. These gigantic Polyforms (shapes you get by combining multiple copies of a given form) with their block-like interconnections contain as much empty space as object. They remind us of geometric puzzles, Krash, for example is like the uncontrolled moment when a few thousand pieces of a Tetris puzzle all come landing at once in 3D space.

Since around 1980 Peter Halley has been making geometric colour-field paintings which recall computer circuits and electrical conduits and cell networks, often done in bright colours to great effect. Be sure to check out Peter’s writings, which will no doubt help elucidate on his methods and working process behind these enigmatic works. In the ‘Employment of the Geometric’ published in 1986 he makes an interesting observation:

‘Now that we are enraptured by geometry, geometric art has disappeared. There is no need for any more Mardens or Rymans to convince us of the essential beauty of the geometric field embodied in the television set’s glowing image. Today we have instead “figurative art” to convince us that the old humanist body hasn’t disappeared (though it has). It is only now that geometric art has been discarded that it can begin to describe the deployment of the geometric.’

More recent conduits, grid patterns and geometric repetitions can be found at Brianelectro’s Flickr set of Atari 2600 glitches. Incidentally MAX/MSP/jitter-heads might be interested to know about jit.atari2600 an Atari2600 emulator specifically designed for virtual processor bending.

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