Sheila Gallagher describes her practice as “the physical manifestation of associations,” culling objects from personal and familial history to make nuanced and resonant configurations. Gallagher has made gorgeous assemblages of melted plastic objects, a digital mandala intricately collaged from a personal calendar, and videos and drawings using smoke as her medium. Interested in literary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin’s notion of the “mute magic” of things, she attempts to harness the vital, spiritual, or symbolic potential of even the most mundane of objects, such as toys and postcards, a napkin holder or a piggy bank.
American, b. 1967, Morristown, New Jersey, based in Boston, Massachusetts