The Soho Weekly News: 1974 “On Art,” Frank, Peter
“Michael Gallagher, whose paintings and drawings hang at Razor to the 14th, is not afraid to ‘look like’ several abstract expressionists, including de Kooning, Twombly, Goodnough, Richenburg, Held, and Knox Martin — and that’s in one painting. Other pictures conjure up Hofmann, Tworkov, Gorky, Stella, et al. A varied ancestry, but Gallagher not only unites them successfully, he still emerges his own man. His drawings have more formal integrity and originality, they are more purely an expression of an aesthetic personality, while the paintings have that distinctly historical awareness to them. But their formulation, with its highly rhythmic choreographing of disparate forms and elements — straight edges, loops, squiggles, drips, grids, jagged strokes, calligraphic gestures, side by side parallel structures, interwoven forms, continuous and discontinuous lines — and especially their gala color, with baby blues jammed up against hot reds, chalky greens, bloody flesh tones, make for fresh, vivid, and extremely likable pictures. Some are a bit more sober and regular than this, but hardly less attractive for it.”
Westways: May June, 2008, “Art that Moves You”, Thorpe, Carole.
OC Metro Business: April, 2008, “The Art of Mike Gallagher”, Belnapp, Susan.
The Sacramento Bee: February 29, 2008, “Big space, big show Inaugural exhibit at Roseville’s Blue Line suggests a bright future”, Dalkey, Victoria.
Greer’s OC: November 21, 2007, “Art that Moves You”, Wylder, Greer.
Orange County Register: October 18, 2007, “Art surfboards”, Pirani, Niyaz.
“Abstract Illusionism: A Perspective,” Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities Honolulu: January 12th-15th, 2007, Dr. Leda Cempellin, South Dakota State University.
“Abstract Illusionism: Taking the Realism out of Illusion,” Cassidy Garhart Velazquez, Colorado State University, Specialization Research Project, Fall, 2007
“American Art Now”: 1986, William Morrow and Company, Inc., Lucie-Smith, Edward.
The Miami News – Nov 21, 1986, “Michael Gallagher”, Leslie Judd Ahlander
Airbrush Action: , 1986 May / June, Cover Article, “Michael Gallagher”.
Airbrush Digest: , 1984, March / April, “The Guggenheim, Art and History”.
Daily Collegian: “Two exhibits stress stylistic developments,”, Penn State, Elizabeth Frank, Oct 12, 1984
Breaking the Plane: Abstract inflected by Illusion: a Recent History, Stuart M. Speiser Collection (New York: Louis K. Meisel Gallery, 1984, Peter Frank.
Flash Art: 1984, March, Inside Cover.
Centric 9 – Trompe L’Oeil Abstraction, exhibition brochure, The University Art Museum,
California State University, Long Beach, October 11-30th,1983, Jane K. Bledsoe.
Architectural Digest: 1983, April, “Art to Intrigue the Eye”, Atkins, Robert.
Dialogue: 1982, November / December, “Beyond the Surface: The Abstract Illusionists”, Eagen, Kip.
Arts Magazine: 1981, “Michael Gallagher”, Yaskowitz, Robert.
Arts Magazine: 1981, “Michael Gallagher”, Freymann, Saxton.
“The strength of Michael Gallagher’s work lies in its ability to engage our interest long after our first powerful encounter. Its meticulously crafted trompe l’oeil brushstrokes provide a seductive fanfare for the subtler strains that emerge as the initial blast subsides. The formal tension between control and abandon is generated both laterally, across the paintings’ surface, and inwardly, from one receding level to the next. The brash, saturated strokes are anchored by the deeply rooted grids and framing devices at the primary or “deepest’ surface of the strange space the paintings create. The charged, lyrical strokes echo and improvise on these.
A relentless drive toward complexity and contradiction pervades. The very illusionism which heralds the work is undermined by what is being depicted so “believably’: Brushstrokes, which in abstract painting are so fundamentally bound to the picture plane, hover here unfettered, while stubbornly continuing to imply the flat surface from which they seem to have been peeled. The simplistic metaphysics of abstract expressionism are playfully convoluted; the variety of gestures and marks employed both are and are not what they represent: tactile strokes, geometric shapes, graphically schematized brushwork, cut outs. There is good humored mockery in the cacophony of color, wittiness in the illusory brushstrokes that seem even more “physical” than the rugged impasto of abstract expressionism. The formal elements that Gallagher manipulates are caricatures of themselves. He acknowledges his debt to the abstract expressionists with a strong sense of self irony, but shakes the Seabedabbled, Michael Gallagher, 60 x 72 in, acrylic / canvas, 1978 conventional limits of that tradition in favor of a more complicated, less stable network of realities. The illusory physicality of the strokes and spatters is contradicted by the illusory space in which they float. We are given, simultaneously, a painted space and an illusorily painted, illusory space.
While the work clearly addresses the issues and limitations of the history of non-objective painting, it is far more than witty parasitism. The playful contradictions Gallagher poses for the abstract expressionist tradition are only part of the broader philosophical position consistently espoused in his work. The questions these paintings raise inevitably lead to a double bind, a procedural impasse; the two modes of seeing that illusionism engenders (the painting itself versus what it depicts) are counter posed so that our questions can only be answered by sacrificing one or the other mode. But Gallagher keeps the two so utterly interdependent – they refer so blatantly to one another – that we are left with a series of paradoxes in trying to define what we see: are the paintings abstract or representational? Painterly or unpainterly? Spontaneous or labored? Personal or anonymous? The work stubbornly evades simple classification. It offers only equivocal realities.
This points to the serious vision that Gallagher’s work conveys. The ironic self-reference – to the reality of paint, to art history – is by no means the final subject of these paintings. Through this intertwining, contradictory, visual information we reach a vantage point not yet narrowed by the short circuiting of experience inherent in hard and fast assignments of identity. The vying realities presented to us confound our tendency to dismiss one by naming the other. In the vacuum of analytic surrender, we are returned to the paintings, the primary visual experience, the retinal fact. What we see is a complex, paradoxical image, which tests the parameters of pure retinal experience and its extension beyond the linear, rational processes that serve to make experience intelligible. In the pregnant, open space between the work and our ability to classify it, our own subjectivities are drawn into an intimate relation with Gallagher’s dynamic imagery.”
Palm Beach Daily News – Dec 9, 1981, “Michael B. Gallagher”, Millie Wolff
Arts Magazine: 1981, February, “The Reality of Illusion, Eclipse of Realism”, Clark, John.
Art in the Seventies New York: Cornell University Press, 1980, Edward Lucie-Smith.
Newsday – Art Review: 1979, December 12, “Realist Space at C.W. Post”, Preston, Malcom.
Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph: 1979, August 17, “Denver Art Show Really No Illusion”, Skodak, Debra.v
Colorado Springs Sun: 1979, July 30, “Exhibit of Things as They Are Not in Denver”.
Reality of Illusion, Introduction, exhibition catalogue, Denver Art Museum, July 13 –
August 26th, 1979; Donald J. Brewer.
Market Place, Colorado: 1979, July 3, “Museum Shows ‘Reality of Illusion’”, Brighton.
The San Diego Union: 1979, November 20, “When Reality is Not Real”, Pierce, Robert Michael.
Artsweek: 1979, November 3, “The Reality of Illusion”, Gamwell, Lynn.
Springfield News: 1978, September 30, “Three New Exhibits Open at Art Museum”.
Abstract Illusionism, catalog introduction, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts, September 24th – October 29th, 1978, Robert Henning, Jr,
Abstract Illusionism, catalog, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts, September 24th – October 29th, 1978, Jay Richard DiBiaso,
Beaver County Times: Exhibit Features Art’s Finest, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, October 22th, 1978, Patti Billen Gillen.