Brent Hallard

Imperfect geometry
First Draft Gallery, Sydney
1 June- 19 June, 1988

Brent Hallard's major influences consist of a curious, and one might almost say postmodern, mixture of Duchamp and Mondrian. For Hallard, these two artists are the most important artistic figures of the twentieth century.

In visual terms the influence of Mondrian is most evident. Hallard's work shown in Imperfect Geometry is, on the whole, cool; consisting of basic shapes and colours which often have a subtlety which makes them impossible to reproduce. To some extent one might take this as a mischievous challenge to the hegemony of mechanical reproduction in these postmodern times.

Certainly Hallard is not a straight modernist, he is not presenting us with icons of the Mondrianesque "universal absolute". Instead he is exploring the endless perceptual possibilities which his study of colour and form can provide; plus their conceptual analogies. For Hallard, space, and the understanding of space, corresponds with abstract thought. Hallard explores "problems" which he constructs for himself. He is not interested in formalism as an end in itself. He is not about painting white on white; what fascinates him instead is perception and the illusions produced by the act of seeing.

Imperfect Geometry is Brent Hallard's first show, although he has been painting full-time for some years. lt is interesting that Hallard has not been exhibited a great deal, and this is very likely due to his minimalist-formalist vocabulary which is anathema to the reigning postmodem regime and not hot enough for neo-geo. Apart from older artists such as Robert Hunter, whose use of mimimal formalism is established, Hallard has few colleagues. He feels that the art institution in Australia at the moment is unable to accommodate work such as his. There is also the problem that his work has a sense of anonymity, the audience finds it difficult to identify Hallard's "tag", or even if they do, they see it a merely derivative.

One would hope that the postmodern condition will one day live up to its own philosophy and accept difference (which includes the Same) rather than indulging in monotonous attacks against modernist sameness.

This review was compiled from an interview with Brent Hallard made by Adriane Boag