Ellen Gallagher’s artworks blend fact with fiction, and combine abstraction with recognisable images
Many of Ellen Gallagher’s works are rooted in found images or refer to historical events. She draws upon a range of sources that include science fiction, social history, marine science and Black lifestyle magazines from the 1930s to the 1970s. Her variety of techniques is just as wide. It includes painting, drawing, cutting, print-making, sculpture and collage. Techniques and materials are often combined to create complex textures and multi-layered images.
At first glance paintings such as Paper Cup 1996 appear to be abstract, with grid lines and geometric patterns. On closer inspection the surface is a collage made using handwriting paper and covered with hundreds of tiny drawings of body parts.
Gallagher often returns to similar themes and motifs. ‘Like jazz, you revisit and repeat with slight changes and build structure’, she has said. ‘It’s a shifting loop that with each rotation doesn’t line up precisely.
The ARTIST ROOMS programme of exhibitions with partner museums and galleries enables access to modern and contemporary art of international significance in rural areas, small towns and major cities throughout the UK.
Exhibitions are happening throughout 2019 and into 2020 in venues large and small, the length and breadth of the country, from Dundee to The Isle of Wight.
Works from the ARTIST ROOMS collection can also be seen at Tate sites in London, Liverpool and St Ives as well as at National Galleries of Scotland sites in Edinburgh.