In contemporary art, a desperation to communicate often conveys merely anxiety on the maker's part. For that reason, I tend to admire the video work of Ruth Eckland, who treats communication as a side effect that she cannot hope to control: a sensible fatalism in a culture abuzz with overwrought messages.
Eckland's work anchors an exhibition at Meridian that borrows its title, "Speak, Memory," from Vladimir Nabokov's peerless memoir.
Speak, Memory: Ruth Eckland, Heike Liss, Vera Kachouh: Video and drawings. Through Feb. 12. Meridian Gallery, 535 Powell St., San Francisco. (415) 398-7229, www.meridiangallery.org.
Sara Bright, Stella Ebner, Patrick D. Wilson: Paintings, sculpture and screenprints. Through Dec. 22. SFMOMA Artists Gallery at Fort Mason, Building A, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco. (415) 441-4777, www.sfmoma.org/pages/artists_gallery.