New YorkTed Gahl: March Pictures
The heat went off on March 3rd, during the night, because I woke up freezing. A call was placed to Mr. Murphy, and he said he would send a guy to look at everything in the basement. I went to the studio, and painted pictures of stoves.When I got home, it was even colder. I played with the Honeywell dial, thinking that maybe if I twisted it hard enough, it might do something. I crouched over my coffee table and watched terrible movies.
Apparently the heat was never fixed, as it stretched into day three. When I got home at night, I piled under my sheets and a sleeping bag, Even under all that, the cold air still found your face and neck. You could feel it coming through the window, which I had tried to jam up with green packing materials from paintings. A YouTube tutorial said it would help, but it did nothing, other than make my windows look ridiculous from the outside.
My neighbor hadn’t been in his apartment for months now. Apparently he took a bad fall, and wassitting in a bed of his own.
Eventually the heat went back on.
Halsey McKay presents March Pictures, an exhibition of new paintings made by Ted Gahl between October of 2020 and March of 2021.
Large Shaker Stove is inspired by concurrent exhibitions Gahl saw that paired Shaker furniture and objects alongside Ellsworth Kelly prints. Beyond the stove’s aesthetic appeal, they are a signifier of heat, and to some extent, danger. Despite their utiltiarian design Gahl interprets their strange shape as almost noble – a docile brontosaurus or Loch-Ness monster comes to mind. At the center of the exhibition, the five-panel work Quilt depicts various characters in different stages of rest, connected from panel to panel by a seam that acts as a horizon, leading the viewer from one painting to the next. Builiding on the theme of warmth, each panel is a length of quilt, that covers and obscures vague figures that appear at the top of each work. The paintings explore different palettes and narratives, with some employing traditional pattern and representation, while others slip into more abstract territory. Solemn heads and faces seem to have found comfort in an uncertain time, with their covered bodies enveloped in a place of safety.
Ted Gahl received his BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York in 2006 and his MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island in 2010. March Pictures is his seventh solo exhibition with the gallery. Other solo shows have been with Alexander Berggruen, New York, NY; Galleri Jacob Bjørn, Aarhus, DK; Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, NY. Gahl has been included in group exhibitions at Matthew Brown, Los Angeles; Freddy, Harris, NY; Bjørn & Gundorph, Copenhagen, DK; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Rod Barton, London, UK; Romer Young Gallery, San Francisco, CA; V1, Copenhagen, DK, among others. He currently lives and works in Northwest, CT.
Courtesy of the artist and Halsey McKay Gallery, New York