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Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher, Odalisque, 2005 Gelatin silver print with watercolor and gold leaf, 15 ¼ × 14 ¼ inches framed (38.7 × 36.2 cm), edition of 15

Ellen Gallagher, Odalisque, 2005

Gelatin silver print with watercolor and gold leaf, 15 ¼ × 14 ¼ inches framed (38.7 × 36.2 cm), edition of 15

Installation view, Ellen Gallagher: AxME, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2014 Artwork © Ellen Gallagher. Photo: Wilfried Petzi

Installation view, Ellen Gallagher: AxME, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2014

Artwork © Ellen Gallagher. Photo: Wilfried Petzi

Edgar Cleijne & Ellen Gallagher, Osedax, 2010

Edgar Cleijne & Ellen Gallagher, Osedax, 2010

Ellen Gallagher, Bird in Hand, 2006 Oil, pencil, gold, plasticine, gold leaf, and paper on canvas, 93 ¾ × 120 ⅞ inches (238 × 307 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Bird in Hand, 2006

Oil, pencil, gold, plasticine, gold leaf, and paper on canvas, 93 ¾ × 120 ⅞ inches (238 × 307 cm)

Installation view of works by Ellen Gallagher, La Triennale—Intense Proximité, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012 Artwork © Ellen Gallagher

Installation view of works by Ellen Gallagher, La Triennale—Intense Proximité, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012

Artwork © Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher, Greasy, 2011 Ink, oil, graphite, and printed paper on canvas, 79 ½ × 74 inches (202 × 188 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Greasy, 2011

Ink, oil, graphite, and printed paper on canvas, 79 ½ × 74 inches (202 × 188 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, An Experiment of Unusual Opportunity, 2008 Ink, graphite, oil, varnish, and cut paper on canvas, 79 ½ × 74 inches (202 × 188 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, An Experiment of Unusual Opportunity, 2008

Ink, graphite, oil, varnish, and cut paper on canvas, 79 ½ × 74 inches (202 × 188 cm)

Installation view, Ellen Gallagher: eXelento, Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York, 2004 Artwork © Ellen Gallagher

Installation view, Ellen Gallagher: eXelento, Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York, 2004

Artwork © Ellen Gallagher

Installation view, Ellen Gallagher: eXelento, Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York, 2004 Artwork © Ellen Gallagher

Installation view, Ellen Gallagher: eXelento, Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York, 2004

Artwork © Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher, Watery Ecstatic series, 2001 Ink, oil, pencil, and cut paper on paper, 22 ¼ × 30 inches (56.5 × 76.2 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Watery Ecstatic series, 2001

Ink, oil, pencil, and cut paper on paper, 22 ¼ × 30 inches (56.5 × 76.2 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, They could still serve, 2001 Pigment, paper, and glue on linen, 120 × 96 inches (304.8 × 243.8 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, They could still serve, 2001

Pigment, paper, and glue on linen, 120 × 96 inches (304.8 × 243.8 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Blubber, 2000 Ink, pencil, and paper on linen, 120 × 192 inches (304.8 × 487.7 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Blubber, 2000

Ink, pencil, and paper on linen, 120 × 192 inches (304.8 × 487.7 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Blubber, 2000 (detail) Ink, pencil, and paper on linen, 120 × 192 inches (304.8 × 487.7 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Blubber, 2000 (detail)

Ink, pencil, and paper on linen, 120 × 192 inches (304.8 × 487.7 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Blubber, 2000 (detail) Ink, pencil, and paper on linen, 120 × 192 inches (304.8 × 487.7 cm)

Ellen Gallagher, Blubber, 2000 (detail)

Ink, pencil, and paper on linen, 120 × 192 inches (304.8 × 487.7 cm)

About

What is crucial to my making of a language and a cosmology of signs is the type of repetition that is central to a lot of the music I am listening to right now. . . . I start off with a limited class of signs and, like stacking in music, I chop and revisit the changes to build structure.
—Ellen Gallagher

Through processes of accretion, erasure, and extraction, Ellen Gallagher has invented a densely saturated visual language in which overlapping patterns, motifs, and materials pulse with life. By fusing narrative modes including poetry, film, music, and collage, she recalibrates the tensions between reality and fantasy—unsettling designations of race and nation, art and artifact, and allowing the familiar and the arcane to converge.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Gallagher attended Oberlin College, Ohio; artist Michael Skop’s private art school Studio 70; the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (graduating in 1992 and receiving a traveling scholar award in 1993); and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (1993). Her interests in these years spanned across disciplines and time periods, including oceanography, microscopic life, popular media, the poetics of Black vernacular language, and the formal geometries of postwar abstraction. In her first major body of work, made in the mid-1990s, Gallagher applied penmanship paper to canvas in uneven grids, filling the pages with small repeated pairs of stylized lips that she both drew and printed in blue ink. These works thus hinged the aesthetics of 1960s Minimalism to racist minstrelsy and blackface physiognomy. Other biomorphic forms (eyes, tongues, and hair) appear in abstract clusters throughout her oeuvre.

In 1998 Gallagher produced a small group of black monochromatic paintings as a direct response to the critical interpretations of her previous works. Starting again with squares of paper on canvas, she added more geometric shapes, creating a textured terrain that she built up with cut rubber. She further inscribed and collaged aleatory motifs from mid-century American race magazines and other sources, then painted the canvas in layers of black enamel. With this thick, reflective surface, Gallagher suggests that the psychosis of race relations is embedded in the history of Western abstraction.

Gallagher was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Art in 2000 and began her ongoing Watery Ecstatic (2001–) series the following year. In Watery Ecstatic, she invents complex biomorphic forms that she relates to the mythical Drexciya, an undersea kingdom populated by the women and children who were the tragic casualties of the transatlantic slave trade. Cutting into thick paper in her own version of scrimshaw—the practice of carving whale bones—Gallagher invests the afterlives of the Middle Passage with a sense of material control, her intense focus giving rise to new peripheries. Drexciya is featured again in Gallagher’s film installation Murmur (2003–04), made in collaboration with Dutch artist Edgar Cleijne. Combining celluloid film with computer animation, Gallagher and Cleijne developed an aesthetic that emerges from the intersection of archival sources, fiction, and memory.

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Ellen Gallagher

Photo: Philippe Vogelenzang

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Art Fair

Art Basel Unlimited 2019
Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Duane Hanson, Steven Parrino, Giuseppe Penone, Tom Wesselmann

June 13–16, 2019, hall 1.1
Messe Basel
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to announce that works by Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Duane Hanson, Steven Parrino, Giuseppe Penone, and Tom Wesselmann have been selected for Art Basel Unlimited 2019, curated by Gianni Jetzer. Launched in 2000, Unlimited is an exhibition platform for exciting large-scale works that transcend the limits of the standard art fair booth. The five artworks are:

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Highway Gothic, 2017–19
Duane Hanson, Lunchbreak, 1989
Steven Parrino, 13 Shattered Panels (for Joey Ramone), 2001
Giuseppe Penone, Cedro di Versailles (Cedar of Versailles), 2000–03
Tom Wesselmann, Still Life #60, 1973

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Jeff Koons, Sacred Heart (Magenta/Gold), 1994–2007 © Jeff Koons

Art Fair

Art Basel 2019

June 13–16, 2019, booth C9
Messe Basel
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel, presenting works by Georg Baselitz, Joe Bradley, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Urs Fischer, Ellen Gallagher, Alberto Giacometti, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Koons, Man Ray, Albert Oehlen, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Mary Weatherford, Tom Wesselmann, and Franz West, among others.

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Jeff Koons, Sacred Heart (Magenta/Gold), 1994–2007 © Jeff Koons

Installation view, Ellen Gallagher with Edgar Cleijne: Liquid Intelligence, Wiels, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, February 2–April 28, 2019. Artwork © Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher

In Conversation

Ellen Gallagher, Dalilla Hermans, Melat Nigussie

Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 8pm
Wiels, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
www.wiels.org

Ellen Gallagher will speak with writers Dalilla Hermans and Melat Nigussie in conjunction with her current exhibition at Wiels, Liquid Intelligence. The talk will be moderated by Aimée-Fidèle Mukunde. The event is free with museum admission. Register at www.wiels.org.

Installation view, Ellen Gallagher with Edgar Cleijne: Liquid Intelligence, Wiels, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, February 2–April 28, 2019. Artwork © Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher

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Museum Exhibitions

Ellen Gallagher, Untitled, 1995 © Ellen Gallagher

Opening this Week

Ellen Gallagher in
Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art after Kusama

September 24, 2019–February 7, 2021
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
www.icaboston.org

This exhibition provides visitors with a deeper understanding of how the immersive environment of Yayoi Kusama’s LOVE IS CALLING (2013) embodies the artist’s long-standing exploration of accumulation, repetition, luminescence, life and death, and happenings. Works featuring Kusama’s obsessive repetition of symbols, patterns, and forms are paired with works by contemporaries as well as those by current practitioners such as Ellen Gallagher.

Ellen Gallagher, Untitled, 1995 © Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher, Esirn Coaler, 2007 © Ellen Gallagher

On View

Artist Rooms
Ellen Gallagher

Through November 1, 2019
Tate Modern, London
www.artistrooms.org

Work by Ellen Gallagher is on display as part of the Artist Rooms series at the Tate.

Ellen Gallagher, Esirn Coaler, 2007 © Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher, Kapsalon Wonder, 2015 © Ellen Gallagher

On View

Ellen Gallagher in
World Exhibition

Through November 3, 2019
Johann Jacobs Museum, Zurich
johannjacobs.com

World Exhibition aims to bring into focus the interspaces and interdependencies at the heart of historical and contemporary objects, films, and works of art, as well as a number of things that actually elude identification altogether. Work by Ellen Gallagher is included.

Ellen Gallagher, Kapsalon Wonder, 2015 © Ellen Gallagher

Rachel Whiteread, Pink, 1993 © Rachel Whiteread

On View

Pushing Paper
Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now

Through January 12, 2020
British Museum, London
britishmuseum.org

Celebrating drawing in its own right, rather than its historic role as preparatory to painting, this exhibition explores how contemporary artists have used drawing to examine themes including identity, place, and memory. Work by Glenn Brown, Ellen Gallagher, Anselm Kiefer, and Rachel Whiteread is included.

Rachel Whiteread, Pink, 1993 © Rachel Whiteread

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Press

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