Born in Providence Rhode Island, Ellen Gallagher received her BA at Oberlin College, and studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Skowhegan School of Arts in Maine, graduating in 1993. She was introduced to the art world at the 1995 Whitney Biennial. Gallagher describes her work which includes painting, sculpture, film, and print, as evidence of language in motion and the processes that create stereotypes.
Her printmaking often incorporates other media, and involves dense layering of etchings. Her collection of sixty "collaged prints" exhibited as "DeLuxe" (2005) showcases this technique. Like much of her oeuvre, the images are based on beauty ads from magazines like "Ebony" and "Black Digest," enhanced with Gallagher's trademark manipulation of eye and lip imagery.