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Sheets of inked and stained pages have been stacked together and densely layered, sometimes twenty sheets deep, the edges and surface cut with a knife to reveal colour striation beneath. The undersea landscape is related to Gallagher’s imaginative exploration of the Middle Passage, the most treacherous part of the slave trading route between Africa and North America. The central figure is a black sailor or pirate with a peg leg. ‘I think of this painting as an origin myth of sorts, with a kind of evil doctor, perhaps related to Doctor Moreau or Frankenstein, at its centre’, Gallagher has said.

September 2008