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b. 1965, USA

Ellen Gallagher Biography

From the outset of her career, Ellen Gallagher has brought together non-representational formal concerns and charged figuration in paintings, drawings, collages, and films that reveal themselves slowly, first as intricate abstractions, then later as unnerving stories. The tension sustained between minimalist abstraction and image-based narratives deriving from her use of found materials gives rise to a dynamic that posits the historical constructions of the 'New Negro'—a central development of the Harlem Renaissance—with concurrent developments in modernist abstraction. In doing so, she points to the artificiality of the perceived schism between figuration and abstraction in art. Selecting from a wealth of popular ephemera—lined penmanship paper, magazine pages, journals, and advertising—as support for her paintings and drawings, Gallagher subjects the original elements and motifs to intense and laborious processes of transformation: accumulation, erasure, interruption, and interference. Like forensic evidence, only traces of their original state remain, veiled by inky saturation, smudges, staining, perforations, punctures, spills, abrasions, printed lettering and marking—all potent evocations and emanations of time and its materiality. This attained state of 'un–knowing' fascinates Gallagher and is one of the primary themes in her work.

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Ellen Gallagher was born in 1965 in Providence, Rhode Island. She attended Oberlin College, Ohio (1982–1984); Studio 70, Fort Thomas, Kentucky (1989); School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts (1992); and Skowhegan School of Art, Maine (1993). Recent solo exhibitions include Watery Ecstatic, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2001, travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, through 2002); Preserve, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (2001, travelled to Yerba Buena Arts Center, San Francisco; and The Drawing Center, New York, through 2002); POMP–BANG, Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2003); Murmur and DeLuxe, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2005); Ichthyosaurus (inc. films with Edgar Cleijne), Freud Museum (in collaboration with Hauser & Wirth, London), London (2005); DeLuxe, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2005); Coral Cities, Tate Liverpool, England (2007, traveled to Dublin City Gallery, Dublin; and The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin); An Experiment of Unusual Opportunity, South London Gallery, London (2009); AxME, Tate Modern, London (2013, traveled to Sara Hildén Art Museum, Finland; and Haus der Kunst, Munich, through 2014); Don’t Axe Me, New Museum, New York (2013); Ice or Salt, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah (2013); and AxME, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2014). Gallagher participated in the Biennale di Venezia in 2003 and 2015, and was awarded the American Academy Award in Art in 2000.

Gallagher currently lives and works in New York and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Text courtesy Gagosian.

Ellen Gallagher Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, UNIQUE at Parkett, Zurich Exhibition Space
11 September 2020–20 March 2021 Group Exhibition UNIQUE ParkettZurich Exhibition Space
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Stronger Than Language at Hauser & Wirth, St. Moritz
11 June–5 July 2020 Group Exhibition Stronger Than Language Hauser & WirthSt. Moritz
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Beside Itself at Hauser & Wirth, Online Only, Hong Kong
30 April–30 June 2020 Group Exhibition Beside Itself Hauser & WirthOnline Only

Ellen Gallagher Represented By

Gagosian contemporary art gallery in 980 Madison Avenue, New York, USA Gagosian New York, Athens, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Le Bourget, Geneva, Basel, Rome, Hong Kong
Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Hauser & Wirth New York, Hong Kong, Zurich, London, Los Angeles, Somerset, Gstaad, St. Moritz

Ellen Gallagher In Ocula Magazine

Hauser & Wirth’s First VR Exhibition Introduces Menorca Space Ocula Insight Hauser & Wirth’s First VR Exhibition Introduces Menorca Space By Sam Gaskin, Menorca

Hauser & Wirth's first Virtual Reality exhibition is a simulacrum of the gallery's forthcoming space in Menorca.

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Ellen Gallagher In Related Press

'Blackness in Abstraction' Related Press 'Blackness in Abstraction' 2 August 2016, Frieze

The thesis underlying Blackness in Abstraction  – arguably the marquee gallery show of the season – was first articulated in 2015 by curator Adrienne Edwards, in an eponymous essay for Art in America. In it, she argued that: ‘Blackness, in the fullest sense of the word, has a seemingly unlimited usefulness in the history of...

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In the Giardini: five to see in Okwui Enwezor’s All the World’s Futures Related Press In the Giardini: five to see in Okwui Enwezor’s All the World’s Futures 7 May 2015, The Art Newspaper

In his interviews in the weeks before the Venice Biennale opened to invited guests and press today, 5 May, director Okwui Enwezor promised the most politically oriented Venice for years. Speaking on the roof terrace at the Ca’ Guistinian yesterday he discussed the difficulties of installing his exhibition All the World’s Futures in the...

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Ellen Gallagher In Video & Audio

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