This Thursday sees the launch of Threesome, by Signs of Power at Hang Tough Gallery in Portobello, Dublin 8. Vanessa Power, under the pseudonym of Signs of Power, has a unique and arresting approach to sign painting that is synonymous to anyone who knows Dublin. Power’s bold typography and lettering convey a contemporary and timeless urban aesthetic.
Having initially embarked on a career in web design, Power’s passion for type sought new forms when she took the decision in 2014 to devote all her time and energy into sign-painting, a traditional and threatened craft in the modern era. Very much a woman in a male dominated field, Power’s mentors included the sign artists Peter Herbert, Syd Bluett and Limerick’s Tom Collins.
It wasn’t long until her talent was finding fresh expression and garnering attention, attracting commissions for the Dublin Theatre Festival, The Guinness Storehouse, Jameson, the Devlin Hotel, as well as Facebook and Twitter and a myriad of national and international brands.
Power’s work was putting Irish sign-painting on the global stage alongside other practitioners of the craft including Boston’s Best Dressed Signs and Brisbane’s Frank and Mimi, as well as the likes of Van Zee Sign Co, Caetano Calomino and Tristan Kerr. Yet Power was very much charting her own path, as part of the Dublin’s Minaw female street art collective and her Love Letters to Dublin project.
Now this October, Hang Tough Gallery will be showcasing 10 new artworks from Vanessa with her latest solo exhibition – Threesome. Following on from previous shows in Chicago, Belfast, London and Dublin, Threesome demonstrates a further evolution of Power’s art, for the first time combining her renowned typographical approach with gold leaf and everyday objects.
Inspired by the work of the Pop art movement artists Robert Indiana and Ed Ruscha, who embraced the vocabulary of post war America signage and harnessed words to explore themes of identity and social injustice, Threesome sees Power use three letter words to elicit a range of responses.
Using traditional woodblock typefaces from the National Print Museum as inspiration, and even recreating three-dimensional versions to be used as precise references, each design in Threesome’s large-scale pieces is beautifully crafted directly onto glass using traditional sign-writing gilding techniques.
Experimentation is at the heart of Power’s work and this is again evident in her application of materials including Italian 23ct gold leaf, mother of pearl shell and iridescent glitter to create her art before each piece is set against a coloured backdrop. Each is as simple as it is strikingly graphic, and this is an exhibition not to be missed, from an artist who continues to experiment in her search for new forms grounded in traditional skills that were once thought lost.
Threesome will run from Thursday 3rd October until Thursday 17th October at Hang Tough Gallery, 25 Lennox Street, Portobello Dublin 8. The exhibition will run from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 12pm to 3pm Saturday. Pricing for original artworks starts at €300. A limited number of prints will also be available for purchase.