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Gemma O'Brien

Away with
Words

13 December — 17 February 2018

Away with Words surveys the last five years of Gemma O’Brien’s work, showcasing a collection of prints, originals and wall installations that reflect her ever-evolving and energetic approach to design and illustration.

Utilizing a variety of hand-drawn and digital techniques, O’Brien renders phrases and words in detailed lettering, taking her inspiration from a range of sources including common Australian expressions, modern affirmations, tattoo illustration, comic book textures, plants, flowers, and Op art. O’Brien’s work is also informed by a love of language, in particular, word-play and puns, elements she brings to life with a variety of techniques including calligraphy, illustrative lettering, and slick typography.

Each wall of the exhibition focuses on a different aspect of O’Brien’s work: a giant sticker wall that presents an eclectic mix of phrases, puns and letters in her signature black and white style; a hand-painted mural (the medium which has defined her practice over the last two years); and a collection of original drawings and limited edition colour prints from various projects.

Blurring the lines between her commercial and personal practice, O’Brien communicates information, emotion, and intention in a language all of her own. And her voice and style is fluid. Letters and words are the foundation, but from that starting point she is able to be contemplative one moment–frivolous and carefree the next. Add to this an overall feeling of humour, optimism and towering scale, and you have a body of work that is at once expressive, dynamic, and thoroughly captivating.

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