Eight red rectangles
In his latest series, Cards in the air, O’Halloran stages an art historical flirtation with Kazimir Malevich and Blinky Palermo, both of whom made works entitled Composition with Eight Red Rectangles. O’Halloran enters their conversation, with his own transformative twist – substituting the pure abstraction of the red rectangle with his signature tumbling playing cards. The paintings freeze the moment of falling, where everything is in the air and we are unsure where it will all come down. This painting nods to Malevich and Palermo’s light-gradiented white backdrops into which the cards’ own white edges knit and blur. These works flirt back to us with risk and reward as we inhabit that airborne moment, living on a teetering cusp of resolve. Here, there is something anti-human stopping at the midpoint and waiting. The twinned forces of representation and abstraction live in dialogical dance suspended within their precise square frame.
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Luke O’Halloran’s paintings construct a mythology and iconography of chance, suspense, and desire where the viewer inhabits a frozen slice of imagistic possibility – of cards fluttering in the air, of forever spinning slot machine wheels, of the magician’s reveal of a bunny pulled out of a hat. From an immaculate depiction of a friend building a house of cards to semi-abstracted fluttering rectangles, O’Halloran performs a sleight of hand by capturing the illusory moment that teases the blurred edge between dream and reality, total fallout and perfect alignment, the everyday and the exceptional. His work affords risk and the unknown, a space of beauty and ecstasy where the viewer dwells in transformative moments of "what if".