The 'T'Space Opens 2024 Season

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday May 30, 2024


‘T’ Space is a visionary arts organization with a focus on education, design and ecology, located on a 30-acre woodland site in the Hudson Valley and founded by renowned international architect Steven Holl. Dedicated to the preservation of its naturally forested habitat, ‘T’ Space offers art and architecture exhibitions united with poetry readings and music performances by international and emerging artists with a multidisciplinary perspective; a nature preserve, with sculptural installations and experimental architecture; a vibrant lecture series; a Summer Architecture Residency for emerging architects from around the world; and an architectural archive. All photos by Susan Wides for ‘T’ Space

This weekend, ‘T’ Space launches its 2024 Synthesis of the Arts summer program with installation of wall painting by Peter Halley and sculpture by Steph Gonzalez-Turner. In the electric landscape of 1980s New York City, Peter Halley liberated the square from its prior minimalist stage and set it on fire for a new generation. Using geometry to express the physical and psychological aspects of contemporary urban space in the burgeoning digital age, his dynamic and radically colored paintings introduced a bold new abstraction. 


Since 1995, Halley has produced numerous multimedia, site-specific installations in which he pioneered the use of wall-sized digital prints in conjunction with other elements. Most recently, his architectural installations have been exhibited at the Museo Nivola, Orani, Sardinia (2021); Greene Naftali, New York (2019); The Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, Venice (2019); and Lever House, New York (2018).

For this exhibition, Peter Halley responds to ‘T’ Space’s unique use of symmetry and asymmetry. Inspired by Walter Gropius, Halley’s intervention employs planes of painted color to further articulate the existing architecture, with particular attention to exploring the composition of its apertures. Here, Halley collaborates with the prolific emerging sculptor, Steph Gonzalez-Turner, to generate a stimulating dialog between three arts: painting, sculpture, and architecture. Halley and Gonzalez-Turner’s rich artistic relationship and collaboration blossomed as they worked together in Halley’s studio.

In a recent interview extracted here, Steven Holl interviewed the artists:
SH: The interesting proposal for the Peter Halley and Steph Gonzalez-Turner exhibition for ‘T’ Space seems to open up the spatial volume by its limit to planes of color (Halley), and vertical lines (Gonzalez-Turner)—was this freeing of space the intention? 

PH: When I was invited to exhibit at T Space I was fascinated by the complexity of the architecture, specifically the play between symmetrical and asymmetrical elements. I have always had a strong interest in the use of color in the architecture of the ‘20s, especially in the work of Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius.

I thought it would be interesting to use colored planes on the walls to explore my understanding of the architecture of ‘T’ Space. Then, after working on a model of the space for the installation, I felt that the wall painting wasn’t enough—that the space would feel empty. I invited my friend Steph Gonzalez-Turner to exhibit her sculpture, which has a radical vertical structure, almost like Giacometti, analogous to the verticality of the human form. With the addition of Steph’s work, suddenly the space seemed populated. 

SGT: I see Peter’s painting as a contour and expansion of the architecture and my work as a compression and distortion through fragmentated planes and elongated space. Although I don’t see my sculpture as specifically anthropomorphic — I like the association with Giacometti. I see my work as a stretched memory of architectural form. I’m interested in the relationship to caryatids, where the body is enclosed within the support of a column or pole. 

SH: Teaching first-year architecture at Columbia years ago, I set three problems limiting students to 1) Lines, 2) Planes, and 3) Volumes, almost like Kandinsky’s book Point and Line to Plane. Are compositional fundamentals part of your effort here? 

PH: The essential impulse of all of my installations is to respond to the architectural setting. The wall painting I’ve done for this installation is quite different from my other work. I wanted to respond to the simple materiality of the space and its woodland setting. The Day-Glo paint I typically use didn’t seem right. I’m interested in the way the planes of color on the wall either change or reinforce the logic of the architecture. 

SH: Kandinsky emphasized color, geometry and rhythm, which seem central to your project. At our time of a return to figurative painting (for example, paintings by Peter Doig), is your project a continuation of abstraction, or an affirmation of its timelessness? 

SGT: I don’t see my work as abstract, but as hovering between references. My primary concern is creating unfixed forms that conjure references ranging from the intimacy of textiles to the monumentality of the built environment. The sculptures are made by painting plywood strips, cutting and gluing them together to create flat grid patterns. The patterned planes are then cut into vertical strips and joined together to make the faceted vertical poles. 

PH: Outside of the arena of painting, I think abstraction is alive and well. Just think about architecture, music, and design. I’m also one of those people who believes abstract composition is the syntax behind all figurative painting. 

During the opening event, there will be a complementary curated program featuring a reading by ‘T’ Space 12th Annual Poetry Award Winner, Pierre Joris, and a performance by musician, Wang Lu. Recordings will be available here following each event. Both artists will also be present in the gallery during Upstate Art Weekend (July 20 - 21), offering a special opportunity to speak with visitors about their work 

As part of her art practice, photographer Susan Wides is Curator of ‘T’ Space. She has curated over 30 exhibitions, including Ai Wei-wei, Ann Hamilton, Martin Puryear, Carolee Schneemann, and Agnieszka Kurant along with the accompanying poetry and music programs. She is also a longtime DART subscriber and contributor. 

This exhibition will continue through July 28, 2024 at the ‘T’ Space Gallery: 125 1/2 Round Lake Road, Rhinebeck, NY ‘T’Space is open Sundays from 11am to 5 pm starting June 2. Please write to schedule a gallery/archive appointment, or guided tour. Click here for more information.