Ellen Gallagher is one of the most remarkable artists working today. In her work she bridges the gap between organic iconographies based on microbiological forms from oceanography, and racialized icons and symbols. She reinterprets both everyday images and black idols from pop culture as she wrangles with American history and culture. With her poetic and playful vocabulary, she explores North American stories and tropes that are also highly topical in current European debates on decolonization, underpinning an ecological consciousness of human existence.
Gallagher develops surrealistic iconographies that depict the mythical worlds of Afrofuturism with the legacy of the artist Sun Ra, of subsea life forms and of the 'Black Atlantic' and the Middle Passage, the slave route across the Atlantic Ocean.