DODGEgallery presents, “Night Painter” an exhibition of new work by Ted Gahl. This is Gahl’s first solo exhibition in New York.

Gahl will present paintings of varying scale, some with constructed dimension, others flat with a characteristically thin application of paint, but all devoted to the impulses and versatility allowed by the medium. Gahl is a painter’s painter. He employs the brush with a trust and confidence that is part physical, taking on the action of drawing, and part conduit for his inner impulses. The imagery marking his compositions morphs between abstraction and things recognizable, but displaced and pocketed within abstraction. His paintings shift between flat and illusionary space, acting as a kind of storyboard for memory, detritus, artifacts of his consciousness. The impact of a room full of Gahl’s work is exhilarating.

Night Painting is a culmination of a body of work begun last spring about the experience of painting at night, about paintings made at night, about subjects that arise in the unfettered quiet and solitude of nighttime painting. Gahl’s work is unself-conscious, sometimes devious, always earnest, and gratifyingly unexpected.

Mark Rifkin, This Week in NYC:

Still in his late twenties, Gahl, who graduated from Pratt in 2006 and got his MFA from RISD last year, has already developed his own visual language involving doorways, hard-to-decipher human figures, waterborne vessels, and insomnia in tantalizing abstract works that demand extra attention.

Excerpt from Night Painter, by Bo Joseph:

For painter Gahl, the fall of night stills the external and stirs the internal: the outer world bombarded by media, information and imagery powers down as an inner world of memory, intimation and resonance awakens. Night seems to slow time and encourages a level of absorption that, in the artist’s words, “converts time into duration.” As time seems to suspend so does distraction, disbelief, cynicism and self-consciousness, spurring ever more inventive free-association.

The works in this show are tied together in part by a state of mind and in part by a condition of form. They are abstractions made at night about the experience of night. Darkness reigns in a palette of blues, grays and blacks, pierced here and there by slivers of saturated color or exposed canvas. They are paintings about light glimmering at the fringes of shadows, like fissures leaking murmurs of optimism from tenebrous depths. Part of the intrigue of Gahl’s work is the combination of a lighthearted, pleasant ease with a conflicted or convoluted culling of things darker, unsettled. They display a dark view of the world in collision with the sanguine outlook required to paint into the unknown. A Diebenkorn-esque fractured grid provides structure, offering ways of seeing that are organized in spite of the disorder of life…but never so organized as to risk ringing untrue.

Ted Gahl was born in 1983 in New Haven, CT. He received his BFA from Pratt Institute in 2006 and his MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2010.

[Image: Ted Gahl “Thief” (2011) acrylic, enamel, and oil pastel on unprimed canvas 72 x 66 in.]  Photo and review courtesy of NY ART BEAT.