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Aspen Art Museum

Santa Ana’s (Against the Wind)
Acrylic and coffee on cotton canvas
72 x 36 in (182.9 x 91.4 cm)
Kindly donated by the artist and David Kordansky Gallery
Estimate: $50,000–$70,000

About this Work

In Chase Hall’s Santa Ana’s (Against the Wind) (2023), we see a man riding the waves on his windsurfer in the famously windy coastal town in Orange County. His hair is swept back, his expression one of intense concentration; the vibrant pink of the sail, contrasts with the sunshine-yellow of his trunks, and the beautiful deep blue of the sea. Made with Hall’s trademark combination of paint and coffee, the rich and varied browns of the figure’s skin and the sky, owe their subtleties to the colors derived from the ground beans. Lines of unpainted white cotton, wend their way across the surface of the canvas—these pronounced striations, recalling the markings characteristic of tradtional woodblock prints. While working across a variety of media, in recent years Hall has received great acclaim for his paintings. He figures are often captured at leisure—having a game of snooker, fishing, playing baseball or at the beach—and he returns time and again to musicians, caught in the act of playing music—his great love. Through these works Hall offers up his own version of Black Figuration, exploring his own experience of biraciality.

Working with coffee is a politicized choice, with the plant’s complex connections to slavery, trade and exploitation. Equally, leaving parts of the cotton—a material with a similar, complex history—is another pointed choice; for Hall these voids act as a “conceptual white.” Setting out from his own personal experience, Hall seeks to go beyond himself, and address universal issues. Speaking with Cultured magazine earlier this year, he observes: “how we consider the titans before us is ever in flux, and […] we have the ability to question authority, canonical histories, and elitist areas that have long excluded Black intellect. I want to focus the conversation more on mark-making, color, stroke, and painterly qualities while making room for new futures.”

About the Artist

Chase Hall’s (b. 1993, St Paul, Minnesota, lives and works in New York and Los Angeles) practice across painting and sculpture activates and disrupts generational traumas encoded in American history. Hall create works based upon my research of the visual systems in which racism lives and how these images and objects have disseminated ideas of blackness. His paintings and sculptures question the incendiary intent of these derogatory objects and images and their continued relevance in the shaping of contemporary America. Making sculptures with objects that are tangible embodiments of past histories, Hall aims to confront social and racial realities by creating unsettling moments through which we re-see and recalibrate how dynamics of race are foundational to America. These dehumanizing narratives and representations are completely false and through the use of assemblage Hall is interested in creating opportunities to unlearn.

Hall harnesses the malleability of a non linear history to find place in our past and excavate proof of how racism has come to fruition. Re-contextualizing these tactile embodiments of festered imaginations allows him to question the hybridity of objects and further understand bigotry behind closed doors. The paintings focus on the resilient fortitude of people who have endured under racist structures and convey this spirit through loose and audacious strokes. Hall's palette permits a color sensibility focusing on the histories of landscape and labor. Hall use of raw cotton canvas identifies the nuances of bi-raciality and he allows the cotton itself to embody a white paint. The stains and tonal washes aim to liberate the paintings from a legacy of American portraiture defined by structures of power and exclusion. Hall's practice creates a visual language of strength and empathy in hope of a visual and racial literacy to better understand the painful inheritances of the past and its resonance in present day.

How to Bid:

Bidding on this work takes place at the ArtCrush gala on Friday, August 4th, at 8pm MT. Absentee and telephone bidding available - please contact for more information, including a condition report.

There is no Buyer’s Premium and the difference between the mid-estimate and the winning bid is a tax deductible donation to the museum.