Ellen Gallagher

Untitled

About this artwork

The American artist Ellen Gallagher created 'Untitled' as one of a series of large black paintings begun in 1998. Seven large geometric forms appear to float on the hard surface. But closer inspection reveals these shapes to be carefully constructed from identical silver lips lined up in rows, their exaggerated style recalling the vaudeville traditions of American blackface minstrelsy. The broad black surface could thereby be seen as a stand-in for the minstrel stage. In this and similar works Gallagher presents a stark contrast between image and meaning; the sleek surface and structured forms reference the purity of American abstract minimalism, while this simplicity is undercut by taboo subject matter relating to her African-American origins.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Untitled
  • date created:
    1998
  • materials:
    Oil paint and enamel on paper on canvas
  • measurements:
    305.30 x 244.40 x 3.80 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • accession number:
    AR00067
  • gallery:
  • subject:
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
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Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher