Ellen Gallagher Cuts Things Up

Ellen Gallagher, detail of an untitled painting (2013) that was exhibited at the New Museum, New York, NY in 2013. Production still from the series Exclusive. © Art21, Inc. 2014. Cinematography: Rafael Salazar

Ellen Gallagher, detail of an untitled painting (2013) that was exhibited at the New Museum, New York, NY in 2013. Production still from the series Exclusive. © Art21, Inc. 2014. Cinematography: Rafael Salazar

“I like radically cutting into the painting, inserting these paper birds, and then trying to figure out how to believe in it.” —Ellen Gallagher

In today’s Exclusive, Ellen Gallagher discusses the paper cutouts that she’s embedded into paintings throughout her career. Shown at the New Museum, seated in her solo exhibition Don’t Axe Me (2013), she explains how she scrapped away areas of her thickly painted canvases and inlaid black paper birds, leaving their sharply cut edges distinctly visible. Gallagher traces her interest in cutting to when she first began working with penmanship paper and needed to release air bubbles trapped under its surface. Her fondness for cut paper is most evident in her Watery Ecstatic series (2001–2009), which depicts sea creatures on intricately incised paper.

Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

Contributor
Ian Forster is ART21's associate producer. He joined the staff in October 2009, first working on ART21 William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible and subsequently ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 6. In addition to his work on ART21′s broadcast programming for PBS, Forster oversees the Web video series ART21 Exclusive and ART21 Artist to Artist and is deeply involved with ART21 New York Close Up.

Leave a Comment

*