The work of artist Peter Gallo oscillates freely between painting, drawing, collage, and sculpture. Filled with literary, art-historical, cultural, political, and musical references and detours, Gallo’s works, when installed together, create poetic, albeit labyrinthine, mise-en-scènes.
The critic James Yood identified in Gallo: “an apparent disdain for materials; an alert scavenger’s attitude toward culture; an eye for the poignant frailties of the vernacular; and an occasionally breathtaking ability to evoke issues of great import. His work is, inevitably, a mixed bag, because he treats the world and his mind as jumbled compendiums, filled with little connections and bursts of revelation that his seemingly slight but actually pointed interventions reveal. It amounts to a kind of grunge arte povera, a witty and instinctive immersion in the stuff of the world that is alternately lax and labored, spottily profound. 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 to figures of cultural authority, either scrawled onto surfaces, collaged, or laboriously constructed as sculptures that allude to the likes of Spengler, Nietzsche, Kant, Pasolini, and Mondrian. His output becomes a kind of pantheon of gravitas—or, in its use of vernacular text, antigravitas made vital by the intensity of Gallo’s scribbles and his disinterest in pictorial nicety.” – Artforum, February 2005.