Room 7

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Afro Mountain 1994 is an example of how Gallagher’s imagery builds and develops from one work to another. The lip-like form is repeated into a dense block which is printed onto the surface of the painting. One by one these blocks accumulate into a new lozenge shape that will, in turn, form the basis of the bow-tie motif in paintings such as Delirious Hem 1995 (in Room 6) and Conglimpscious 1997–8.

Another instance of repetition and transformation is provided by Bone-Brite 2009, which was based on one of the advertisements used in the Yellow paintings, showing a demonstration of x-ray techniques. Here the figure of the medical technician seems as uncanny and disembodied as the skeleton that he is inspecting.

In Greasy 2011, a collage of pages from magazines has been coated in white ink, leaving fragments of images and smothering all of the text apart from the letters e and o. The eye is drawn to the thousands of teeming details such as bottle and jars that stand out from the expanse of white, as well as to the enigmatic, unworldly figure – both archaic and futuristic – in the foreground of the composition.