Peter Gallo (b. 1959, Rutland, VT) lives and works in Hyde Park, VT. He received a PhD in Art History at Concordia University, Montreal, where he authored “Bio-aesthetics and The Artist as Case History.” He has a MA from Concordia University, Montreal and a BA from Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT. Additionally, the artist works as a psychiatric social worker in a rural health care agency in Northern Vermont and has been active in the Grass Roots Art and Community Efforts (GRACE) in Hardwick, VT. He has organized numerous exhibitions including Our Yard in the Future: The Art of Gayleen Aiken (Horton Gallery, 2007) and has contributed criticism to Art in America and Art New England, among others. The artist is represented by Horton Gallery in New York, where he has been featured in three solo shows, two group shows, and two art fairs, and Anthony Reynolds Gallery in London, UK. He will have a solo show with Horton Gallery in the Fall of 2014.

Since the early 1980’s Gallo has been assembling an archive; an “image repertoire” of materials such as found photographs, drawings, texts, newspaper clippings, passages which he has jotted down from philosophical or poetic texts, exhibition announcements, hand written lists, medical diagrams, photocopies, vintage porno, postcards, album covers, pharmaceutical promotionals, letters from his late mother, political buttons, and even the remains of a meal (the artist seems to have an affinity for chicken bones). The materials serve as sources for his paintings, as surfaces on which to draw, paint, or write, or as facture for his collages and assemblages.

Drawing from this wide range of texts and images, Gallo utilizes simple formal structures and gestures - channeled through an exquisitely lyrical aesthetic sensibility - in an often frank and confrontational fashion. In the tradition of punk, neo-punk, Lettrism and Situationism, Gallo steals the words and images of others for his own ends; snippets from Roland Barthes, Freud, Mondrian, and queer pornography – oftentimes mixed in with lyrics gleaned from Gallo's favorite music: The Cocteau Twins, Dusty Springfield, The Magnetic Fields, or Joy Division (the artist is a Joy Division diehard). Yet, for all its critical or confrontational energy, Gallo's seemingly apathetic scrawl or brushstroke across a found object or yard sale painting conveys something ultimately profound and positive, including his own abiding love for Modernist painting.

Notable Exhibitions:

Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, IE (forthcoming)
DeCordova Biennial, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA
Fool's House, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY
Update, White Columns, New York, NY
Sequence and Consequence, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York, NY
White Columns (White Room), New York, NY
Troubling Customs, Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Ontario and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Press Mentions:

"A man spends his whole lifetime painting one picture or working on one piece of sculpture.” Barnett Newman wrote this truth in 1950, this truth about men, but it’s almost as if he had predicted the Peter Gallo phenomenon; not that Gallo is repetitious per se but one does come to recognize, then respond to, then live for, the patterns one sees in his work. Count the ships in this show, in his career, Dreamy and sad, scudding across a Turner sea, Gallo’s “Blue Ship” is sketched almost in Chinese form, an effect almost as much of calligraphy as of draughtsmanship, its attenuated tendrils or drips tying together the masses of blue accreting at the picture’s center, so the pink must be the sky or fog, with gold at the edges, a mercantile sort of windjammer bound for a wealthy East." - Kevin Killian, "Peter Gallo A-Z: On Peter Gallo's 'Paint Symptoms'", December 2011.

“A collagist and draftsman of considerable invention, Mr. Gallo is also an art critic and historian, a psychiatric social worker and a wide-ranging reader and music lover, all of which comes through in intensely referential work that embraces Freud, Roland Barthes, Dusty Springfield, gay pornography and ornithology. Mr. Gallo’s work has an insider-outsider look that can, in other hands, turn precious and generic, but he makes it work.” – Holland Cotter, “An Upbeat Moment for a Downtown Area”, The New York Times, December 2007.

“Gallo’s mercurial and deceptively slight art – which juxtaposes a melancholic world-view akin to that of Joy Division with the dysfunctional aesthetics reminiscent of, say, Forrest Bess or Ree Morton – is littered with literary, art-historical, political and musical references. It’s reassuringly hard to pin down.” – Matthew Higgs, “Looking Back”, Frieze, February 2006.

“Gallo, an art historian and [critic], finds tremendous power in emotional rawness largely absent from the art world these days. His work speaks to his own reality without descending into maudlin self-centeredness. Rather, Gallo shows us that he's content to simply admire…or remind his audience of the often inhumane political climate we inhabit…[His works] appeal on a direct, emotional level. And one easily comes to miss the good old days of the culture wars, when artists regularly went out of their way to challenge small-minded ideas about what counts as ‘lewd’ or ‘vulgar.’” –Sarah Valdez, “Peter Gallo at White Columns”, Art in America, December 2005.

“Peter Gallo threads elliptical texts into a beautiful room of invented fragments.” – Pradeep Dalal, “Tear Sheet: ‘You Thought it all Would be Pie/ No, Mary Ann’", The Village Voice, June 2005.

“Peter Gallo, a writer and self-taught artist in his 40’s from Vermont, is showing an array of scrappy paintings and drawings, often involving found materials and wryly incendiary messages. For viewers of a certain age, the sardonic works brig to mind the poem-drawings of Paul Bloodgood and the visionary paintings of Forrest Bass.” – Roberta Smith, “Making an Entrance at Any Age”, The New York Times, May 2005.

“Peter Gallo has all the (slow) moves of a neoslacker: an apparent disdain for materials; an alert scavenger's attitude toward culture; an eye for the poignant frailties of the vernacular; and an occasionally breath-taking ability to evoke issues of great import... A partial inventory of Gallo's materials would include dental floss, toothpicks, a towel, string, wire, French vermilion oil paint, buttons, toilet paper, spackle, bric-a-brac, a bed sheet, picture frames, amateur sculptures, and patterned fabrics. These are usually mixed with snippets of found text or references...that allude to the likes of Spengler, Nietzsche, Kant, Pasolini, and Mondrian...He adjusts his raw materials just enough to allow them to speak more clearly, either of themselves or of his response to them.” – James Yood, “Peter Gallo: Wendy Cooper Gallery”, Artforum, February 2005.

“Gallo does not decide in advance nor impose an order on what he writes or draws...To finish is fatal, because one never finishes, and if one does, it is inevitably wrong, incomplete, insufficient, unclear. In his practice Gallo reaches a resolution of sorts that, no matter how momentary it might be, is the conclusion his art reaches in the face of the ineffable. His intelligence is like that of an athlete. What Gallo does is determined at any moment by the situation; he does what needs to be done.” – Robert Buckeye, Daytrtmnt Catalogue, 2002.

“Following in the footsteps of the Surrealists and the Situationists, his method of ‘detournement’ explores the way in which the ‘real’ – often in the form of violence – exceeds and escapes any attempt at systematization.” – Ed Pepe, “The Dis-asters of Modernism”, greenMountains Review, Spring-Summer 1999.

Notable Collections

Nick Cave, Chicago, IL

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