Ted Gahl
Despair, 2022
acrylic, oil pastel, Moroccan pigments, colored pencil on canvas in artist's frame
40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm.)
Anna Ting Möller
Calleth you, Cometh I, 2023
Scoby-Kombucha, wood, acrylic sheet
36 x 72 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (91.4 x 184.2 x 6.3 cm.)

Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, Kaifan Wang

January 17-February 21, 2024

Alexander Berggruen is pleased to present Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, Kaifan Wang. This exhibition will open Wednesday, January 17, 2024 with a 5-7 pm reception at the gallery (1018 Madison Avenue, Floor 3, New York, NY).

The artists in this group exhibition complicate our relationship with imagery and understanding. Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, and Kaifan Wang create diverse paintings and sculptures marked by turbulent but considered gestures across a spectrum of varying formal qualities such as color, texture, and material. Forms and constructed spaces slip from familiar to foreign as imagery and non imagery are warped by the artists’ memories, imagination, meditations on space and time, surroundings, and ancestry.

Installation view of Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, Kaifan Wang (January 17-February 21, 2024) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.

For some, the image-making process is spurred by recollection and intuition. While reflecting on her walks and close looking in the woods, Soumya Netrabile paints lyrical landscapes with long, draftsman-like, energetic brushstrokes that appear to be full of movement and flux. Loose references to objects tether her paintings to the natural world as they float in mythological abstraction. In her 2023 painting Night Flies, leaves and a swarm of flies materialize out of her gestural red marks. They seem to violently sway in the otherwise invisible force of the wind. Netrabile explores our fragile relationship with nature by rendering it with a seemingly unstoppable, moving power, recalling its unwieldy force.

Similarly fusing figuration with abstraction, Ted Gahl’s paintings open windows and doorways into ambiguous mental spaces between thoughts, reality, and dreams. Inspired by fashion, the artist renders fabric-like patterns that envelop or exist alongside lithe figures. The scenes are obscured by a haze, as the forms are often unbound by distinguishing features and are swept up in the movement of the brushstrokes and occasional paint drips. Sometimes, Gahl breaks the composition up into segments he calls Diversions. A viewer’s attention is redirected by these obscuring components, leaving one to wonder what may be behind or beyond them. Rendered with restless mark-making, Gahl’s paintings conjure the feeling of being allowed brief glimpses into psychological spaces.

Dustin Hodges also finds propagative possibilities in what lies beyond the frame. Considering time arts, Hodges’s paintings emerge from, in his own words, “the idea of a film that functions as a motor generating paintings as if they were each an individual frame or still” (1). He probes how narratives around an object can change in varying atmospheres. The artist extracts and repurposes forms from sources including Odilon Redon’s painting Butterflies (circa 1910) and the 1996-2022 cartoon Arthur. His 2022 painting Diver Mentality animates a rock formation found in Redon’s Butterflies by isolating and rotating it such that, here, it resembles a lion plunging downwards. This manifests above a figure’s head, comparable to the visual metaphor of a thought bubble. Through shifting revisitations of similar subjects, Hodges embraces an uncertain, unstable, and unattainable narrative, reminiscent of the fertile, wavering qualities of abstraction.

Installation view of Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, Kaifan Wang (January 17-February 21, 2024) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.

The abstract topographical surfaces Gabriel Mills paints hover between the earthly and the celestial. His sculptural application of oil paint ties the work to a tangible reality while the lifted attention to light and color engenders an otherworldly reach for the divine. Mills grapples with disjunction. Breaking his paintings up into triptychs with sometimes unconventional ratios, the artist prevents continuity. In his 2023 triptych Changria, uniform horizontal striations meet thin maze-like raised paint, next to a wider panel of thickly built up and scraped away paint. These rifts in compositions and the suffocated space between them act as abrupt events of change, resembling significant indicators of one’s subjective experience of “time” and “presence”.

Kaifan Wang’s Tumbleweed series resembles the movement and round form of the eponymous plant in swirling brushstrokes that verge on abstraction. Born in Hohhot, China, the artist now lives and works in Berlin, where, in his words: “a grain of sand blown into one’s eyes on a Berlin street can remind him of flying dust in Inner Mongolia.” Earth-toned, calligraphic, swirling marks overlap in and spill out of his 2023 painting Tumbleweed VIII. Contemplating his personal experiences with migration, Wang balances the chaos of a tumbleweed’s inertia with its peaceful terrestrial color palette, true to the plant’s existence. He evinces the fluctuating experience of living in an increasingly global economy. In response to life’s unpredictability and social upheavals, Wang seeks to channel the spirit of the tumbleweed—following the destination of the wind in surrender.

Another artist interrogating their ties to being “from” and living between vastly different countries, Anna Ting Möller challenges notions of kinship and alienating colonial structures. On an unsuccessful search for their birth mother, Möller was gifted a kombucha-mother—a fermenting culture also known as the acronym SCOBY for Symbiotic Cultures of Bacteria and Yeast. This SCOBY has become Möller’s primary sculptural medium. Considering the continual care required to maintain the SCOBY, the artist investigates the notion of lineage, whereby the relationship they share with the fermenting culture is that of, in their words: “other, offspring, caregiver, contaminant, and even parasite”. They hand stitch growths from the SCOBY with suture seams to fit as flesh around metal or porcelain armatures or into long sheets, reminiscent of a canvas structure. Much like the artist themself, the SCOBY in their work is, in their words, “detached from its origins.”

Pursuing shifting imagery through memory, intuition, time, and changing relationships, the artists in this show chase the nebulous, elusive qualities of subjective reality. They seem to find that deviation from the details allows access to the essence. What unites these distinct artists is their grappling with the unknowable, through the forces which connect us, the divine, and our individual and collective histories.

Press Release by Kirsten Cave

Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, Kaifan Wang will run at Alexander Berggruen (1018 Madison Avenue, Floor 3) from January 17-February 21, 2024. The exhibition’s preview is available upon request. For all inquiries, please contact the gallery at info@alexanderberggruen.com.

(1) Dustin Hodges with Amy Sillman, interview in publication produced on the occasion of Dustin Hodges: Pink Shadow, Atrata, Paris, 2023.

Installation view of Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, Kaifan Wang (January 17-February 21, 2024) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.

About the Artists

Ted Gahl (b. 1983, Connecticut) received a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. Gahl has been an artist-in-residence at Tilleard Projects Residency, Lamu, Kenya, Africa; and Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL. The artist has exhibited internationally at: Alexander Berggruen, New York, NY; MAMOTH, London, UK; Harkawik, New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA; Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton, NY; Galleri Jacob Bjørn, Aarhus, Denmark; Towards, Toronto, Canada; Zach Feur, New York, NY; Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; The Journal, Brooklyn, NY; The Peninsula School, Institute of Contemporary Art, Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine; and Mass MOCA, North Adams, MA. His work has been featured in publications including: Ocula, The New York Times, Artinfo, Time Out London, Artnews, Artsy, and Huffington Post, among many others. Gahl’s work is included in the public collections of The RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI and Hall Collection, Reading, Vermont. Gahl is a 2022 Pollock-Krasner Grant Recipient. He lives and works in Connecticut and Brooklyn, NY.

Dustin Hodges (b. 1984, Portland, OR) received an MFA from Bard College, a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and went on to study at Städelschule, Hochschule für Bildende Künste, in Frankfurt. Hodges has had solo exhibitions at galleries including: Atrata, Paris, La Roche-Posay, Angles-sur-l’Anglin, FR; 15 Orient, Brooklyn, NY; Soft Opening, London, UK; Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA; Galeria Mascota, Mexico City, MX; Off Vendome, Düsseldorf, DE; and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York, NY. Hodges’s work has been included in group shows at: Alexander Berggruen, New York, NY; Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Meeting, New York, NY; Eli Ping Frances Perkins, New York, NY; Galerie Max Mayer, Düsseldorf, DE; Kensington Church, Montreal, CA; and Taylor Macklin Gallery, Zürich, CH, among others. Hodges lives and works in Northern New Mexico.

Gabriel Mills (b. 1992, New Rochelle, NY) received an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT and a BFA in Illustration and Art History from the University of Hartford, Hartford, CT. Recent solo exhibitions include TIDSOPTIMIST, Micki Meng, San Francisco, CA and Butterfly March, Alexander Berggruen, New York, NY. His work has been featured in group exhibitions including Descendants at the K11 Musea, Hong Kong, CN; Walk Against The Wind, presented by Micki Meng and Parker Gallery; Expanding the Collections, New York Historical Society, New York, NY; Black Abstractionists: From Then Til’ Now, curated by Dexter Wimberly, Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas, TX; Durian On The Skin, François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, CA; Ultralight Beam, Pelham Art Center, Pelham, NY; Employee Exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Elana Bowsher, Vicente Matte, Gabriel Mills, Alexander Berggruen, New York, NY. In 2021, he was an artist in residence at MASS MoCA. The artist’s work is held in public collections including: The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; The Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas, TX; New York Historical Society, New York, NY; Museu Inima De Paula, Minas Gerais, Brazil; and X Museum of Contemporary Art, Beijing, CH. Mills lives and works in New Haven, CT.

Anna Ting Möller (b. 1991, Yueyang, China) is a Chinese/Swedish artist living and working in New York City and Stockholm. Möller received an MFA from Columbia University, New York, NY and a BFA from Konstfack University, Stockholm, SE. Forthcoming solo exhibitions will be held at Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden and Galleri Dueer, Stockholm, Sweden. The artist has exhibited at Liljevalchs Art Gallery, Stockholm, SE; Kristianstad Konsthall, SE; Gustavsbergs Konsthall, SE; ArkDes, Stockholm, SE; Carl Eldh Ateljemuseum, Stockholm, SE; ICPNA La Molina, Lima, PE; Urban Glass, New York, NY; and Titanik Gallery, FI. They participated in the 45th Tendencies Biennale in Norway. Their work has covered the front page of the National Daily News Paper, DN, Sweden (2020).

Soumya Netrabile (b. 1966, Bangalore, India) received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, NJ. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have been held at Gana Art Nineone, Seoul, South Korea; Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, CA; Part2 Gallery, Oakland, CA; The Journal, New York, NY; Andrew Rafacz, Chicago, IL; and The Gallery at A+C Architects, Skokie, IL. Her work has been exhibited internationally in group shows including at Museu Inima de Paula, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Old School of Chora, Greece; Rachel Uffner, New York, NY; Indigo+Madder, London, UK; LaLoma Projects, Los Angeles, CA; Trinta Gallery, Santiago de Compostolo, Spain; and Karma Gallery, New York, NY. Netrabile lives and works in Chicago.

Kaifan Wang (b. 1996, Hohhot, China) received the title of Meisterschüler i.e. M.A. from Berlin University of the Arts, DE. He was featured in “Influential 2023: Forbes China Contemporary Young Artists”. Wang was awarded the Ivan Juritz Prize 2022, held by King’s College London and Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, IT. His work has been exhibited at GNYP Gallery, Antwerp, BE and Berlin, DE; Long Story Short LA, Los Angeles, US; and Unit London, London, UK, among other galleries. Institutions that have shown his work include: Shanghai Yuz Museum, CN; Seoul Songwon Art Center, SK; Berlin Wilhelm Hallen #3, DE; HVB KunstCUBE B2, Berlin, DE; Taicang HISMOON, CN; Shanghai Himalaya Museum, CN; Potsdam FLUXUS+ Museum, DE; and Inner Mongolia Art Museum, Hohhot, CN. Artist residencies include GNYP Gallery Artist Studio, Antwerp, BE and Mahler & LeWitt Studios (former studios of Anna Mahler and Sol LeWitt), Spoleto, IT. The artist lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Soumya Netrabile
Night Flies, 2023
oil on canvas
48 x 60 in. (121.9 x 152.4 cm.)
Courtesy of the artist and Anat Ebgi Gallery, Los Angeles.
Photos: Dario Lasagni
Gabriel Mills
Cieja Phantasi, 2023
oil on wood panel (triptych), framed
24 x 56 in. (61 x 142.2 cm.)
Photos: Dario Lasagni
Kaifan Wang
Tumbleweed VIII, 2023
oil, oil stick, and acrylic on canvas
59 x 78 3/4 in. (150 x 200 cm.)
Photos: Dario Lasagni

On the occasion of our exhibition Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, Kaifan Wang (January 17-February 21, 2024), curator and writer Yindi Chen contemplates the universal search to contend with time across the artists’ paintings and sculptures.

Installation view of Ted Gahl, Dustin Hodges, Gabriel Mills, Anna Ting Möller, Soumya Netrabile, Kaifan Wang (January 17-February 21, 2024) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.
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