Emily Hall

  • Scott Reeder, Bread & Butter (Beach), 2019, acrylic and oil on canvas, 30 × 40".

    Scott Reeder

    In the serenely colored paintings of “Didactic Sunsets,” Scott Reeder’s first solo exhibition at Canada, food and flora go about their daily lives. In a room lit by dawn-colored light (Green Interior, 2020), a pear and a banana embrace in bed—a ripped-off peel lies on the floor—as another banana watches them through a window. This banana appears once more in Purple Interior, 2019, checking out the pear as it salaciously mounts a bunch of grapes. Another painting finds the grapes on a therapist’s couch in a flatly rendered, nearly featureless office. Single grapes roll about on the floor as the

  • View of “Ed Fornieles,” 2017. From left: Radoll (Canadian Dollar, $), 2016; Radoll (Canadian Dollar, $), 2016. Photo: Greg Carideo.

    Ed Fornieles

    The Finiliars are awfully cute. Genderless, possessed of pastel-hued Teletubby bodies and gumdrop heads, they live in a verdant valley where they adorably play soccer, blow bubbles, and roll about in the grass. They also carry out more mundane (but still adorable) tasks, such as cooking breakfast and performing morning stretches.

    However anodyne their affect, the Finiliars, created by the artist Ed Fornieles, do not exist in a void but are tied to real, if abstract, things: Each one represents a world currency, and its behavior is determined by calculations that analyze the value of the currency

  • Susan Te Kahurangi King, Untitled, ca. 1975–79, graphite, colored pencil, and crayon on paper, 17 × 11 1/2".

    Susan Te Kahurangi King

    Susan Te Kahurangi King’s rich, strange drawings at Andrew Edlin Gallery fell into two groups: works from the 1970s and those from the ’80s. The works in the earlier group are kinetic: They evoke waves that surge and loom and fall from one side of a sheet to another, and that seem to have taken up—and then been taken over by—a mass of cartoonlike objects and shapes in their paths: spoonbills, Mickey Mouse hands, a pinwheel of legs, a curvy calf, and a foot in a Mary Jane–style shoe. Difficult, at times, to discern, these items appear and reappear in fields of soft pencil marks that

  • Ben Vida, Speech Act (Video), 2016, video, color, sound, 11 minutes 50 seconds.

    Ben Vida

    Midway through Beckett’s Endgame, the blind Hamm, agitated, asks his son/servant Clov, “What’s happening? What’s happening?” Clov responds, cagily, “Something is taking its course.” Later, Hamm attempts to identify this unspecified something, but his efforts—“We’re not beginning to . . . to . . . mean something?”—are unsuccessful, dismissed by Clov with a laugh.

    The spirit of Endgame is alive and well in composer Ben Vida’s “Speech Acts,” 2016–, a series of works that chart the ways in which sound and meaning work together or permeate each other, and the ways that they approach each

  • Rodrigo Valenzuela, Hedonic Reversal No. 12, 2014, ink-jet print, 54 × 44".

    Rodrigo Valenzuela

    The photographic works in Rodrigo Valenzuela’s “Hedonic Reversal” (all works 2014) depict ruins, or representations of ruins, which have been constructed from stark white elements—lath, chalk, a crumbling material that might be drywall or polystyrene—and set against a saturated black background. They have the air of abandoned infrastructure projects, neglected social housing, or generic buildings that become visible only as they decay. The destruction seems to be ongoing. They are broken, disintegrating into white dust, worn away altogether, leaving only lines of chalk.


  • Alicia McCarthy, Untitled, 2015, spray paint and latex paint on wood panel, 7' 4“ × 10' 2”.

    Alicia McCarthy

    Like the San Francisco Mission artists with whom she is often grouped, Alicia McCarthy makes art from pointedly unprecious materials: latex, colored pencil, or spray paint on wood panels. This gives her works the air of handmade signs; in fact, one very large piece at her recent presentation at Jack Hanley Gallery brings to mind a billboard. And like a sign painter, she relies on a restrained visual language—color arrays, woven lines, interlocking arcs—and she marshals these decorative elements toward ends that may have little to do with decoration at all.

    The billboard-size piece (all

  • Kate Shepherd, womantorse daz3d2 Draw-On-1.lrfr(three scenes), 2014, triptych, oil and enamel on panel, overall 6' × 11' 2".

    Kate Shepherd

    The surfaces of Kate Shepherd’s paintings in “Fwd: The Telephone Game” are glossy, rich, and warm, even when the colors are cool. Made on large wood panels, the works feature compositions of thin white lines in oil applied to unmodulated fields of enamel. These lines appear chaotic at first—they form jagged angles, jointed curves, and sprays like fallen pins—but on sustained viewing, familiar shapes emerge: We recognize an angle as the bend of an elbow, a curve as the swell of a hip, and two or three quick, short lines as the outline of a nipple. Some works engender these flashes of

  • View of “Marni Kotak,” 2014.

    Marni Kotak

    This summer, Microscope Gallery presented Mad Meds, 2014, a work by Marni Kotak, who is perhaps best known for her infamous 2011 piece The Birth of Baby X, in which she gave birth to her son in this very same gallery before a live audience. As she did for that earlier work, Kotak here exposed the public to something that usually takes place in private, in this case the process of weaning herself from postpartum-depression medications—a strong cocktail of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antianxiety drugs. During the run of the exhibition, Kotak made herself readily available to those

  • Alain Biltereyst, Untitled, 2014, acrylic on plywood, 10 1/4 × 7 1/2".

    Alain Biltereyst

    Alain Biltereyst’s solo show this past spring was called “Geo Land,” as if inviting us into a realm of pure shape and color, a utopia of abstraction along the lines of what the Bauhauslers might have imagined. The exhibition, the Brussels-based artist’s first in New York, comprised twenty-seven small vertical paintings on wood, each more or less the size of a hardcover book, hung in single file along the gallery walls. Across the works, the basic building blocks of line and shape, in bright colors and snappy blacks, are deployed in a variety of ways: We find a stack of thick diagonal black

  • Peter Dreher, Tag um Tag Guter Tag Nr. 0 (Day) (Day by Day, Good Day Nr. 0 [Day]), 1972, oil on linen, 10 1/2 × 8 3/8".

    Peter Dreher

    In her recent collection of essays and interviews, Lynne Tillman filed her interview with German artist Peter Dreher in a chapter titled “U for Unheimlich.” This categorization rather marvelously signals the artist’s main achievement: his transformation of a perfectly ordinary object into something eerie. Dreher has painted the same glass on the same table in his studio every day since 1974, and in so doing, he has made this simple thing deeply unsimple; the recent installation of 134 of these paintings at Koenig & Clinton was nearly vertiginous in its suggestiveness.

    The premise of “Tag um Tag

  • Michelle Segre, Porous, Porous, 2014, metal, foam, wire, wood, plaster, modeling clay, yarn, thread, plastic lace, bread, 109 x 50 1/2 x 22".

    Michelle Segre

    Michelle Segre’s sculptures have the feel of totemic objects assembled to ward off bad luck—or perhaps to draw in a thing intensely desired. Indeed, their spiritual and formal antecedents may be the God’s-eye and the dream catcher, two objects drained of much of their original power thanks to their appropriation by New Age culture and kitschy tourist shops. Segre’s works, however, suggest action, impulse, pulse—energy flowing first one way, then the other, intensities announced in the title of the largest work that was on view here, Self-Reflexive Narcissistic Supernova, 2013. The

  • Simon Evans, Notes, 2014, mixed media on paper, 88 1/4 x 64".

    Simon Evans

    THE AIM OF DRINKING IS PHILIP GUSTON, reads a tiny handwritten line in Simon Evans’s The Hell of Addiction,2013, BUT THE RESULT IS DENNIS QUAID. This strange, regret-filled assertion is but one among hundreds in a work that is at once a drawing, a collage, and a map, crowded with text imparting self-help advice (THE CENTER OF ADDICTION IS SELF-DECEPTION), messages of despair (OBSESSIVE NEUROTIC ACTIVITY KEEPS TRAUMA AT BAY. THIS IS NOT TRUE), and what occasionally feels like absolute truth (I FUCKING LOVE DRUGS, GIVE ME DRUGS). These wry statements flood the imaginary neighborhood that Evans