Pace Prints is pleased to announce Melanoidin, a solo exhibition of new works by artist Chase Hall, on view September 8 – October 7, 2023, at 536 West 22nd Street.
Chase Hall’s practice makes space for both generational celebrations and traumas encoded throughout American history by exploring representation in portraiture and the exploitation of material resources. Uniting cotton paper and coffee grounds, he builds compositions of figures including sports, jazz and familial subjects, among others, intertwining complex trajectories of race, hybridity, and economics.
This exhibition is Hall’s first presentation of works created using a technique he developed over the last three years spent working with Justin Israels at the Pace Prints studio. Previously, the artist utilized only the liquid from pressed coffee as a medium. Through experimentation, Hall has incorporated the grounds by mixing them with etching medium and traces of ink to create subtle variations in textures influenced by the size of grounds and relief of the plates. The result produces a wide range of colors akin to skin tones, from rich blacks through a broad swath of browns and tans juxtaposed against the voids of pigment in which Hall refers to as “conceptual white paint,” most prominently depicted in the work Sheep’s Wool, where patches of color are missing from the subject’s face.
The adaptation of coffee beans as a medium points to the commodification and distribution of valued resources from Africa and South America. Paired with paper made of cotton, the leading industry of the American South built on enslavement, these materials make up the physical and symbolic infrastructure of Hall’s practice as a painter and a printmaker.
Chase Hall responds to a variety of social and visual systems in the presentation of his subjects and how he builds composition to invoke a sense of camaraderie, refusal, honor, and respectability. The collared shirt and proud posture of the figure in Black Direction, the breaking of a smile with sullen eyes in Baylee and the Bandanna, all allude to the collision of pressures that occur when one fights against the odds. Combining these elements of tribute evokes a sense of the shared plight of heroes and friends who navigate the barriers of society towards exceeding the potential of humanity.
Melanoidin is Hall’s first solo exhibition at Pace Prints and will run concurrently with his upcoming New York solo exhibition The Bathers at David Kordansky Gallery, September 5 – October 14.