Ellen Gallagher was born in 1965 in Providence, Rhode Island. She studied at Oberlin College, Ohio (1982–84); Studio 70, Fort Thomas, Kentucky (1989); School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts (1992); and Skowhegan School of Art, Maine (1993). In 2000 Gallagher was awarded the American Academy Award in Art and participated in the Biennale di Venezia in 2003. Her work is represented in public collections including Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions include “Watery Ecstatic,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2001, traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Australia in 2002); “Preserve,” Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (2001, traveled to Yerba Buena Arts Center, San Francisco and The Drawing Center, New York in 2002); St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2003); “Ichthyosaurus,” Freud Museum, London (2005); “Deluxe,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2005); Tate Liverpool (2007); and “An experiment of unusual opportunity,” South London Gallery (2009).
Gallagher lives and works in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and New York City.
In Watery Ecstatic: “classical” type of drawings, watercolours – and collage – of marine creatures. This series is at the border between scientific drawings of submarine life – it seems to document, to present a catalogue of her complex universe – and child pastel drawings. Elegant, poetic, soft even after the anger of some other works. ?????
These creatures are descendants of slaves, thrown out of boats. Ellen Gallagher makes them fish and gives them a whole new existence. At the bottom of the sea.