Artist research: Ellen Gallagher

18/19/20 July 2017. Looking at the images my browser came up with when searching for Ellen Gallagher (*1965, USA) on the web, I got an immediate first impression of comic strips. On closer inspection I found this completely wrong, and only a very limited segment of her oeuvre, but her working in large series, the reduced palette with an affinity for yellow and grey and her style reminded me somewhat – but not exclusively – of a number of pop art painters. The above is but one of the many different styles and techniques Gallagher uses, many of these including collage, video, traditional and innovative types of printing and also mechanically working into the surface of her paintings (Gagosian, n.d.). In a series of videos Gallagher explains, among others, her keen observation of initially unwanted side-effect of her techniques, which over time may become central ingredients of the work she makes, e.g. trapped air bubbles which she then used to recreate biological structure. It was also an eye-opener to me to get to know how Gallagher approached a project of capturing the usually fleeting impression left by the activity of birds (Forster, 2014). In her subjects Gallagher often deals with racial and gender stereotypes as she finds them transported by the media (Tate, n.d.). At first I was not too much drawn to the appearance of her final pieces, but having listened to her explaning the ideas behind her work, I started feeling close to her unusual, highly sensitive, honest and witty ideas of making her intentions known.

References

Forster, I. (2014) Ellen Gallagher: Cutting [online]. art21, New York, 21 February. Available from: https://art21.org/artist/ellen-gallagher/ [Accessed 20 July 2017]

Gagosian (n.d.) Ellen Gallagher at Gagosian [online]. Gagosian. Available from: https://www.gagosian.com/artists/ellen-gallagher [Accessed 19 July 2017]

Tate (n.d.) Ellen Gallagher. Biography [online]. Tate, London. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/ellen-gallagher-9553 [Accessed 19 July 2017]