DODGEgallery presents Prof. Sheila Gallagher’s “That which remains…”

DODGEgallery is pleased to present Sheila Gallagher: That which remains…, a solo exhibition of new work including smoke paintings, plastic paintings, ink drawings, and found objects. This exhibition marks Sheila Gallagher’s first solo exhibition in New York. That which remains… is open through Sunday, May 8th. On Saturday, May 7th at 6pm, Gallagher and Dr. Robin Nagle, anthropologist-in-residence at the NYC Dept. of Sanitation will be giving a talk on the history of trash as part of the Festival of Ideas in conjunction with the New Museum. A hybrid practitioner known for exhibitions of disparate materials, laborious inventive processes, and strong conceptual bookends, Gallagher displays the same rigor and delight in material juxtapositions and manipulations, though this time enlisting ambiguity to host thematic tie-ins. All of the works in the show not only have back stories, but forward and side stories as well.

Gallagher has selected objects and imagery excavated from her own personal and familial history, a plastic napkin holder, old Lego, a 19th  century drawing of Hartʼs Island by an unknown artist, and a postcard from the 1972 Munich Olympics to serve as the literal, visual, and conceptual content of her show. Reflective of her experience of spending the last ten years researching and archiving a family collection of 650 historically significant Civil War drawings that had all but been forgotten, That which remains… asks questions about object survival and inter-object communication. Meaningless and meaningful, innocuous and loaded, the resonance of these collected objects exists in the space between their personal and cultural histories, and in the shift from their intended meaning or function to a new symbology. Gallagher is struck by how these objects have persisted in actuality (they havenʼt been tossed) and in a collective mind-space. Gallagher describes her work as “the physical manifestation of associations” revealing hidden histories and relationships.

Employing objects that, as Gallagher says, “refuse to go away”, she is investigating what Walter Benjamin called “ the mute magic” of things. For both Gallagher and Benjamin, “things are never just inert objects, passive items or lifeless shucks at the disposal of the documentary gaze. But they consist of tensions, forces, hidden powers, which keep being exchanged.” For Gallagher, this translates to a kind of spirituality, lending “theological weight to things themselves.” Harnessing the symbolic and poetic potential of objects and images that have somehow survived the trash heap or vicissitudes of history, Gallagherʼs works themselves offer complex resonances.

Blue Flocked Virgin Mary Bank, smoke on canvas 54x40

The tension between subject and medium is often present in Gallagherʼs choice of material. In Blue Flocked Mary, painting with smoke expands and contradicts the “thingness” of a cheap piggy bank in the form of a religious icon. In Deute, (Greek for “now again”), a large painterly landscape made of hundreds of melted plastic objects from Gallagherʼs house, a small image of a classical column is both framed and overwhelmed by the garden made of junk.

Grounded in the quotidian, yet framed by a wider view of historical events, Gallagherʼs work asks us to explore how objects define us and to be awake to their shifting literal, symbolic, and poetic  relationships. Inspired by Ann Carlsonʼs translations of Sapphoʼs fragments, the conscious gaps in the exhibition point to incomplete knowledge and the inexhaustibility of interpretation, welcoming the viewer to be aware of what is absent.

Sheila Gallagher received her BA from Connecticut College and her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has exhibited at prominent institutions including Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and the Tisch Gallery at Tufts University. Gallagher was a finalist for the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston’s Foster Prize and a finalist for the St. Botolph Foundation Distinguished Artist Award. Gallagher has received a number of grants and awards including Buttenweizer Scholarship, Young American Scholar, and Thomas J Watson Foundation Fellowship. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America and The Boston Globe, among other publications, and is included in the collection of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Fidelity Investments, and Wellington Management. She has lectured  and taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wellesley College, Harvard University, Saint Gaudens, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, and is currently tenured faculty at Boston College.

Founded in April 2010 by Kristen Dodge, DODGEgallery is a contemporary art gallery located on the Lower East Side. Housed in a 2,500 sq/ft former sausage factory, the gallery opened to the public on September 10, 2010. The program combines early-career and mid-career artists, often installing two concurrent exhibitions. Artists on the gallery roster include Rebecca Chamberlain, Dave Cole, Environmental Services, Darren Foote, Sheila Gallagher, Jason Middlebrook, Daniel Phillips, and Lorna Williams. For more information please visit dodge-gallery.com.

For further information about the exhibitions please contact Patton Hindle at patton@dodge-gallery.com or +1 212-228-5122

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