Holland Cotter, “An Upbeat Moment for a Downtrodden Area”, The New York Times, Dec. 7, 2007
The gallery is pleased to announce the solo show of paintings, objects, and works on paper by Vermont-based artist Peter Gallo.
Drawing from a 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 – all turn up on occasion, mixed in with lyrics gleaned from Gallo’s favorite music: The Cocteau Twins, Dusty Springfield, The Magnetic Fields, or Joy Division (Gallo 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.
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 bedsheet, 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, Artforum
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, Art in America
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 from dytrtmnt catalogue.
Peter Gallo lives and works in Hyde Park, Vermont. He has had solo shows at White Columns (White Room), New York (2005), Freight + Volume, New York (2005), and the Wendy Cooper Gallery, Chicago (2004). Gallo is a doctoral candidate in art history at Concordia University in Montreal, where he is authoring, “Medicalisation and its Discontents: The Artist as Case History.” He also 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, Vermont. In addition, he has organized numerous exhibitions and has contributed criticism to Art in America and Art New England, among others. His work has recently been discussed in The New York Times, Artforum, Frieze, and Art in America.