The Power Plant

Nu-Nile

Ellen Gallagher

Past Exhibition

Jun 23 – Sep 03 2018

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Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Highway Gothic, 2017. 16 mm film installation with 70 mm film and textile cyanotype banners. © Edgar Cleijne. © Ellen Gallagher. Courtesy the artists, Hauser & Wirth and Gagosian

CURATOR: CAROLIN KÖCHLING ASSISTANT CURATOR: JUSTINE KOHLEAL, RBC CURATORIAL FELLOW

Born in the port city of Providence, Rhode Island, Ellen Gallagher has long been an inspired and imaginative chronicler of the watery ecstatic realm. Her large-scale history paintings featuring seascapes, science experiments, portraiture, abstraction and minstrelsy are mutinous assertions of blackness in a medium in which the African body has habitually been concealed. Her exploration of visual culture covers a wide ranging temporal terrain stretching from blackface minstrelsy to 20th-century abstraction, and includes mining of vernacular forms as diverse as science fiction, advertising, mid-century race magazines, travelogues and scrimshaw in order to address and release the concealed threads which bind the visible.

Encompassing paintings, drawings and films, Gallagher’s first exhibition in Canada takes its starting point from her and Edgar Cleijne’s most recent film installation Highway Gothic (2017), an examination of the impact Interstate Highway 10 had on humans and nature. Running through New Orleans and the Atchafalaya Swamp, the Highway was part of a period of mass construction during the mid-20th century which segregated working class, especially immigrant communities, from new urban centres. The exhibition draws connections between this recent North American history and Gallagher’s sea bed paintings that evoke the people of Drexciya, an Atlantis built by the in utero descendants of African women who leapt or were jettisoned from slave ships during the Middle Passage. The artist’s series of black paintings, Negroes Battling in a Cave (2016), was prompted by the discovery that Malevich’s Black Square (1915) had been painted on top of a proto-cubistic painting. Its title makes reference to a handwritten note at the edge of Malevich’s canvas, recently unearthed during restoration.

Nu-Nile reveals Gallagher’s practice of synthesizing a wide range of pictorial traditions in order to counter static representations of black people in culture, and critically examines and reimagines the figure-ground protocols circulating within the canon of Western painting.

Ellen Gallagher (born 1965 in Providence, Rhode Island) lives and works in Rotterdam and New York. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have been organized at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2018); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2014); Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland (2013); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, USA (2013); New Museum, New York (2013); and Tate Modern, London, UK (2013). Recent group exhibitions include Columbia University Wallach Art Gallery, New York (2018); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2017); Contemporary Arts Centre, New Orleans (2017); Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2017); The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017); WIELS, Brussels (2017); Museum of Modern Art Warsaw (2017); and Mrac – Musée régional d’art contemporain, Sérignan, France (2017). In 2015 her work was featured in the Venice Biennial.

23 JUNE – 3 SEPTMEBER 2018

CIRCLE OF SUPPORTERS' EXHIBITION PREVIEW

Friday, 22 June 2018, 6 – 8 PM

PUBLIC OPENING PARTY

Friday, 22 June 2018, 8 – 11 PM


CO-PRESENTING SPONSORS

PRESENTING DONOR

Diana Billes

LEAD DONOR


LEAD SPONSOR


MAJOR DONORS

Rosamond Ivey
Nadir & Shabin Mohamed

SUPPORT DONOR

Sheldon Inwentash & Lynn Factor

INTERNATIONAL ARTS PARTNER

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LEARN MORE

Watch an In Conversation with Ellen Gallagher, Natasha Tretheway and Dr. Ivy Wilson | 24 June 2018

Summer 2018 Program Guide

Click here to read more about The Power Plant's Summer 2018 exhibitions and programming for the season!

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Ellen Gallagher, Kapsalon Wonder, 2015; Highway Gothic, 2017; Watery Ecstatic (RA 18h 35m 37.73s D37° 22' 31.12'), 2017; Odalisque, 2013. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Highway Gothic, 2017. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Highway Gothic, 2017. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Highway Gothic, 2017. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy of the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Ellen Gallagher, Hydropoly Spores, 2017; O.K. Corral, 2008. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Ellen Gallagher, Negroes Battling in a Cave, 2016. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Ellen Gallagher, Morphia, 2008; Watery Ecstatic, 2017, 2018. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher: Osedax, 2010. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher: Osedax, 2010. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher: Osedax, 2010. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher: Osedax, 2010. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher: Osedax, 2010. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher: Osedax, 2010. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2018. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

About the Artist


Ellen Gallagher

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