Halley says that his breakthrough occurred around 1983, when he really began to feel a sense of connection via burgeoning technologies. More conduits appeared in his work, linking his cells. Throughout the ’90s, his paintings became busier and more vibrant, with more complex configurations. Connections between various shapes abound—the mood of Halley’s paintings seemed to shift from alienated to energetic.
Halley’s titles, too, reflect this evolution. In Cartoon Network
(1997), for instance (even the name betrays a more lighthearted vision of the world), pink, green, brown, and gray conduits all link a silver-and-purple square, with the latter similarly attached to an orange rectangle. Halley cites the
(which made bright, whimsical furniture) and its major figure,
, as inspirations; an element of fanciful design pervades Cartoon Network
. Similarly, Joy Pop
(1998) is a riot of pearlescent green, pink, orange, yellow, and navy, with conduits pulsing around the painting’s central cells. They appear to be mid-movement, like cars spinning on a carnival ride.
During the 1990s, of course, technology was making significant leaps toward ever-greater connection, with the public launch of the World Wide Web in 1993. “I [don’t want] to be a show off or anything,” Halley says, smiling, “but there are people who say my work anticipated this digital space.”