Visual Arts: Go Font Ur Self*

Go Font Ur Self* 3

Peer Group Gallery, Glebe

Opened 15 October.

Last Thursday night, Peer Group Gallery (which I’m told on average would house four people and two dogs) became a seething ant-farm of graphic-admiring, beer swilling, hallway clogging individuals. They had all gathered in the name of typography  – that word of ten letters that governs the arrangement of all twenty six, plus the numerous signs, symbols and punctuation marks we employ in everyday written language. This particular night marked the third instalment of Go Font Ur Self*, an exhibition of type based works that aimed to reinvent the alphabet in a context that elevates it from its common usage.

Already twice this year the exhibition has graced Don’t Come Gallery, Melbourne and Peer Group Gallery, Sydney and included works by local high-profile artists such as Ben Frost, Mark Drew, Numskull and Beastman, to name a few. This time around showcased art by All City Media, Dave the Chimp, Jumbo, Daren Newman and Jessica Hische amongst others.

On the eve of the recent Sydney opening, I spoke to Curator Marty Routledge, who was looking more than a little frazzled or maybe, just as he suggested, in need of a cigarette. He went on to tell me that at the time go Font Ur Self was conceived, there was a real gape in the art world where typography just wasn’t being adressed. Despite this, there seems to be a bit more of a movement in the past year or so towards type based works, particularly with the arrival of recent exhibitions such as Wooden Toy Quartely’s Lyrics and Type (to coincide with Melbourne’s 2009 Semi-Permanent convention) and other ongoing exhibition projects such as Lifelounge’s Some Type of Wonderful, to be launched for on Oct 23rd at Sydney’s China Heights Gallery. Marty puts these happenings down to a bit of  “friendly competition”, which can only fuel the fire considering he’s “in it for the love”.

Marty – modest as he is with his successes – than run me through his plans for Go Font Ur Self in 2010. Word from the man himself is that the next installment is due February next year, and with the success they have experienced so far, the exhibiton will expect to target more venues in more cities, and bigger and better artists as it goes along. There is even the suggestion of carving font types on the moon and taking the exhibition not only international, but interspace and to the further reaches of the galaxy. Maybe I was asking too many questions.

The pieces exhibited on the night were varied and eclectic – an exhibition of typographical misfits that came together in a way that was so entirely satisfying. One of my favourites from the night was Daren Newman’s Seize Opportunity by the Beard , the text being arranged amongst linear hair-strand patterns which I couldn’t help but find particularly entrancing. Nevertheless, amongst the fifteen works exhibited there was no real one stand-out, if only because all pieces were of such quality that it was hard to pick and choose. As well as this there was free beer to enjoy, a calligraphy demonstration room to get lost in, and Bad Wives DJ’s spinning tunes to get your feet shuffling. Great crowd, great works, great concept – do all you can to not miss out.

You will love this if: you’re sick to death of all Word’s drop down menu has to offer

You will hate this if: you can’t stand hallways. Peer Gallery is an architectural anomaly.

After Sydney, Go Font Ur Self* travels to No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne and again in a new Brisbane leg at Nine. For more information visit

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