Katja Farin, Maria Farrar, Esme Hodsoll, Alyina Zaidi

March 1-April 5, 2023

Alexander Berggruen is pleased to present Katja Farin, Maria Farrar, Esme Hodsoll, Alyina Zaidi. This exhibition will open Wednesday, March 1, 2023 with a reception from 5-7 pm at the gallery (1018 Madison Avenue, Floor 3, New York, NY).

A synergy emerges between Katja Farin, Maria Farrar, Esme Hodsoll, and Alyina Zaidi as each artist explores, in delicate depth, repeating lines and undulating forms present in daily life for some, and in their magical imagination for others. Though united by a possible preoccupation with pattern in the quotidian, the artists diverge in their engagements with form, economy of line, space, psychology, and spirituality.

Installation view of Katja Farin, Maria Farrar, Esme Hodsoll, Alyina Zaidi (March 1-April 5, 2023) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.

Katja Farin disrupts the figure-ground relationship, giving form to the question Farin poses: “How does the world we create around us affect our inner self, the relationships we make, the ways we cope, and the feelings we have?” As the artist delves into this inquiry, they depict ambiguous spaces, often punctuated by patterns in warping logic, where the rules of repetition meet curving planes. Here, coping mechanisms are brought to light and the figures, though physically present, may be mentally disconnected from the current moment. They embed symbolic elements, such as the phrase “2-faced” on a book in Cobwebs and flower buds in Am I the problem?. Even as the figures’ expressions remain stoic, Farin’s treatment of their figures’ eyes, multiplying body parts, and lyrically-colored skin tones outwardly projects the figures’ internal processing of their traumas and identities as they progress towards self actualization.

Maria Farrar captures everyday moments marked by colors and techniques inspired by the cultural confluence in her life between her native Philippines, upbringing in Japan, and her current home in London. Articulating scenes from her recent visit to the Philippine village with buoyant color and balancing between staunch representation and translucent or seemingly floating objects humbles the artist to reflect on the uncertain corporeality of objects that are often taken for granted. In Farrar’s hands—while interacting with the maid, watching her family getting their nails done, or feeling estranged in a bedroom away from home—baked goods float, high heels become diaphanous, and a figure’s body may become ethereal. Farrar embraces the unknown by imbuing her compositions with an occasionally fragile, otherworldly physics. In her words, “Translucent objects interrupt the suspension of disbelief, the smooth experience of seeing, but it’s the kind of discomfort I want to sit with for now.”

Esme Hodsoll approaches her work with the delicate attention of a classical painter concerned with the contemporary moment. Working entirely from life, Hodsoll’s studio and domestic spaces act as sites for contemplation, as is often reflected in the aura of her painted objects. In her 2022-2023 painting Man Bathing (At Night), the artist’s insistence on faithfully recording the moment enabled her to capture the intense yet serene stare of a man in internal retreat. The psychological space of this portrait is heightened by the still water enveloping his shoulders, his faint reflection on the water’s surface, and the minute details of his hair and the cotton washcloth behind his head. Speaking about her work, Hodsoll stated: “In striving to render reality exactly, each picture is taken to the end of what is possible, which in itself is experience. One hopes the image will remain in the memory and resurface, re-live.” (1) Under Hodsoll’s gaze, a bath is immortalized, a plastic bag is elevated to sophisticated sheer drapery, and a houseplant palm offers a study of line, shading, and life.

Alyina Zaidi paints interwoven patterns and forms, charting a selective web-like map populated by animals and characters she calls her “spirits”. Often, her spirits are derived from food, such as the radish spirit or tomato-kale spirit in her 2022 painting A grand expedition and a fake toad. There is an organized chaos to her work, as if we are witnessing a snapshot of a dynamic living ecosystem. Delineating multiple perspectives at once, fleshy rocks materialize in pockets of wrapping tendrils, and rivers of fish slope around neatly arranged rows of eggs. Her objects drip with symbolism as she animates plants, rocks, food, and clouds, sometimes allowing spiritual intuitive mark making to guide her. Inspired by the long-lasting bright colors of Persian and South Asian miniature paintings and the gardens in Kashmir and Delhi, Zaidi builds, in her own words, “magical landscapes” where rituals occur and symbolism abounds.

Press Release by Kirsten Cave

Katja Farin, Maria Farrar, Esme Hodsoll, Alyina Zaidi will run at Alexander Berggruen (1018 Madison Avenue, Floor 3) from March 1-April 5, 2023. The exhibition’s preview is available upon request. For all inquiries, please contact the gallery at info@alexanderberggruen.com.

(1) Esme Hodsoll, “Esme Hodsoll. 5 Questions from Isolation”, Royal Academy Young Patrons, 2020.

Installation view of Katja Farin, Maria Farrar, Esme Hodsoll, Alyina Zaidi (March 1-April 5, 2023) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.

About the Artists

Katja Farin (b. 1996, Los Angeles, CA) received a BFA from University of California, Los Angeles. Their work has been exhibited at Friends Indeed Gallery, San Francisco, CA; BGSQD New York, NY; Prior Art Space Berlin, GE; Era Gallery Milan, IT; in lieu Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Lubov Gallery, New York, NY; Eve Leibe Gallery London, UK; Beers London, UK; and Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, among others. Farin has been featured in numerous publications including: New American Paintings, Artribune Italy, Pique Magazine, Editorial Magazine, and Cultured Magazine. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Maria Farrar (b. 1988, Philippines) received an MFA in painting from Slade School of Art, University College London, UK and a BFA from Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, UK. Farrar’s work has been exhibited at Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Singapore; mother’s tankstation, London, UK; The Philippine Embassy, London, UK; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY; and Saatchi Gallery, London, UK, among others. Her work is included in the collections of AmC Collezione Coppola, Venice, IT; Government Art Collection, UK; Long Museum, Shanghai, CN; Longlati Foundation, Shanghai, CN; and Magdalen College Library University of Oxford, UK. The artist lives and works in London, UK.

Esme Hodsoll (b. 1992, London, UK) studied at the Royal Drawing School, London and Penninghen, École de Direction Artistique et Architecture Intérieure, in Paris. The artist’s work has been shown at PATERSON ZEVI, London, UK; Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK; ALMA ZEVI, Venice, IT; Laura Lopes, London, UK; Ping Pong Gallery, Brussels, BE; and Tristan Hoare, London, UK among others. Hodsoll was awarded the Richard Ford Award, and has participated in residencies at Dumfries House, Scotland and at the Prado, Madrid. She currently lives and works in Paris.

Alyina Zaidi (b. 1995, New Delhi, India) holds an MA in painting from the Royal College Of Art, London and a BA from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Indigo + Madder Gallery, London, UK; Newchild Gallery, Antwerp, BE; Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK; and White Cube, London, UK, among others. Zaidi is a London-based artist from New Delhi and Srinagar.

Esme Hodsoll Lemons, 2022 oil on copper, framed 7 7/8 x 5 7/8 in. (20 x 15 cm.)

Esme Hodsoll
Lemons, 2022
oil on copper, framed
7 7/8 x 5 7/8 in. (20 x 15 cm.)

On the occasion of our exhibition Katja Farin, Maria Farrar, Esme Hodsoll, Alyina Zaidi (March 1-April 5, 2023), we spoke with the artists about their work.

Installation view of Katja Farin, Maria Farrar, Esme Hodsoll, Alyina Zaidi (March 1-April 5, 2023) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.
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