Word to Mother – Vertical Gallery

Vertical Gallery, Chicago’s premier urban-contemporary art gallery, is very proud to present “Let Love Lead the Way,” an exhibit of paintings by British artist Word To Mother.

Running from October 5-26, 2019, “Let Love Lead the Way” assembles paintings created over the past two years in Word To Mother’s seaside studio — a collection of work that examines the virtues of a positive mindset, celebrating moments of happiness and kindness through the lens of primitive characters inspired by 1930’s cartoons. The artist will attend the exhibit’s opening reception, taking place at Vertical’s 1016 N. Western Ave. location from 6:00-9:00 pm on Saturday, Oct. 5.

“Let Love Lead the Way” underlines the progression and maturity of WTM’s work, says Patrick Hull, Vertical Gallery owner and founder. “These paintings are very positive, very optimistic and very playful,” Hull says. “I think it’s critical for art to play a role in fostering positivity, and I know people will be able to feel the joy that Word To Mother is bringing to Chicago.”

“Let Love Lead the Way” is split into two bodies — salvaged pieces and layered paintings — featuring cartoon animals united by a shared spirit of perseverance and positivity. A range of textures and objects including rusted metal surfaces and vintage wooden patinas (some in WTM’s personal collection since 2004) provide the perfect backdrop for the artist’s menagerie of characters, which he executes in a limited palette with minimal use of gold leaf. Gestural marks and layers of illustrations form the surfaces of the contrasting pieces, with WTM’s singular line work exploring the optimism and joy that the character forms express.

Born and raised in an English seaside town, Word To Mother studied illustration in art school, from there expanding into graffiti and tattoo art — pursuits that profoundly shaped his latter-day mixed-media work, which juxtaposes signature flourishes like hand-drawn personal sentiments and tight sign-written letters evoking vintage typography. In addition to a previous Vertical Gallery solo show, 2017’s “Forgot How to Fly,” WTM has exhibited in galleries in London, San Francisco and Dubai.

Word To Mother
“Let Love Lead The Way”
October 5- 26, 2019
Opening reception with the artist: Saturday, October 5, 6:00-9:00pm