Chase Hall

'The Close of Day'

Chase Hall interrogates the realities of race in America through innovative figurative painting techniques and iconography that engage the past and the present. Using coffee grounds as pigment on raw cotton canvases, Hall varies the levels of coarseness and fineness of the bean to achieve a range of tonal values, metaphorically articulating a non-monolithic Black experience and evoking his biracial hybridity. The artist’s first solo museum exhibition brings together new paintings and an impressive installation featuring a century-old, self-playing Wurlitzer organ ensconced in a brick room, evoking the museum’s historic structure — and the breath and memory of those who created it. The works address a range of issues, from the complexities of race and labor to the weighty histories of coffee, cotton, and other commodities, as well as personal meditations on the artist’s own place in society and history.

signature image for Chase Hall exhibition
Chase Hall, "Hall & Sons Train Company," 2022, acrylic and coffee on cotton canvas, 96 1/4 x 72 1/8 x 1 1/4 in. Courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery.

About the artist

Chase Hall’s (b. 1993, St. Paul, Minn.) paintings and sculptures respond to generational celebrations and traumas encoded throughout American history. Responding to a variety of social and visual systems, each of which intersects with complex trajectories of race, hybridity, economics, and personal agency, Hall generates images whose materiality is as crucial to their compositional makeup as their indelible approach to representation. A central body of paintings, made with drip-brew techniques derived from coffee beans and acrylic pigments on cotton supports, is notable for both its conceptual scope and its intimacy. The use of brewed coffee carries powerful symbolic weight as it evokes centuries-old geopolitical systems associated with the commodification of a plant native to Africa. In Hall’s hands, it also becomes a means of achieving subtle visual textures, a range of brown skin tones, and a mark-making vocabulary precipitated on the closeness of touch. Above all, it is the artist’s improvisational willingness to immerse himself in the indefinable personal hieroglyphics of each picture that gives his work its resonance and impact.

Hall was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to produce a large-scale artwork for its opera house in New York. His monumental diptych, Medea Act I & II (2022), is on view at the Met Opera through June 2023. Hall’s work has been included in group exhibitions including Black American Portraits, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Young, Gifted and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art, University of Illinois Chicago; and This Is America | Art USA Today, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, the Netherlands. Hall has been an artist in residence at The Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine. His work is held in the permanent collections of institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Baltimore Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Credits

The Close of Day is organized by SCAD Museum of Art chief curator Daniel S. Palmer and presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2023.

More on view