Over the past two decades, Ellen Gallagher (born 1965) has created a body of work exploring notions of materiality, history and language. In her early paintings, Gallagher dispersed fields of repeated bulging lips and eyes--borrowed from the imagery of minstrel performances--on gridlike backgrounds of penmanship paper. She continued to incorporate historical material in subsequent works, most famously using midcentury advertisements for African-American beauty products from "Ebony" magazine and other publications of the period, abstracting portraits of models with yellow Plasticine, oil paint, pencil marks and incisions. For the first major New York museum exhibition of her work at New Museum, Gallagher produced a series of new paintings that both extend her formal and thematic interests and mark a radical new development. Each of the pieces consists of tendril-like formations incised into layers of paint. This complex series is featured in this catalogue along with a booklet of her work from 1993-2009.
New Museum of Contemporary Art, The
Don't Axe Me