• 14 Aug - 15 Sep, 2017
  • in conjunction with Spark International Festival of Music, Media, Arts & Design

At times quirky and grungy, ominous and uplifting, WORDS + CROSSES immerses the viewer in a playful and paradoxical world.  The artist simply known as Nell loves rock music, having grown up on a diet of AC/DC; she also took her vows as a Buddhist in an ancient Chinese ceremony.  Nell embraces these ways of being in both her life and her work.

When I was 16 I knew I was going to be an artist and that my art practice was my life practice. I experience art making as the totality of possibility for anything and everything to come into existence or to disappear. And freedom is always near.

- Nell

For WORDS + CROSSES, Nell brings the work Let There Be Robe to Ramp Gallery.  In this exhibition, heavy with the symbolism of opposites – light and dark, death and rebirth, silence and noise – Nell’s obsession with Colin McCahon is also evident, in her bespoke wallpaper and large-scale paintings.  Continuing her long-standing interest in contemporary manifestations of spiritual traditions, she mines the magic of materials, Rock ‘n’ Roll’s potential for transcendence, and the power of words – not to mention the 10,000 Karmic ghosts of existence. 

Never afraid to go her own way, Nell’s work is instantly recognisable and impossible to forget.

Nell has exhibited extensively in Australia and Internationally.  WORDS + CROSSES, is her first solo exhibition in New Zealand and will open on Monday 14 Aug, 5:30 pm – at the close of Day One of Spark International Festival of Music, Media, Art and Design at Wintec’s School of Media Arts.

As part of the festival, Nell will also be in conversation with Rhana Devenport (Director, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki) on Tuesday 15 Aug, 10:30 - 11:30am.  Come and hear Nell and Rhana talking about life, art, music and her obsession with Colin McCahon.

A beautiful publication designed by Area Design is available and can be downloaded here.

More details available and the full programme of events at the Spark Festival website. 


Sydney-based Nell was born in 1975 in Maitland, NSW, Australia. Nell studied at Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney, The University of California, Los Angeles and École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. She has exhibited widely in Australia and been awarded residences in Beijing and Rome. Nell represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and STATION, Melbourne.

In 1999 Nell’s work was curated into Primavera at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Recent major projects and collaborations include: The National 2017: New Australian Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2017); NE/LL, Shepparton Art Museum, Victoria (2016); The Wake, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia (2016); The Labyrinth, Performance Space, Carriageworks, Sydney (2015); BLACK 'n’ WHITE, PS Project Space, Amsterdam (2015); THE FIRSTBORN IS DEAD, STATION, Melbourne (2015); It’s a Long Way to the Top (If you Wanna Rock `n’ Roll), Chanting to Amps, Let There Be Robe, Museum of Old and New Art, (MONA) Tasmania; commissioned performances and installations for the festival MONA FOMA (2012) and The Oracle - Spring/Summer (2011/12); collaboration with Romance Was Born for Australian Fashion Week. Her video work SUMMER won the University of Queensland National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize in 2013. Nell is a 2017 Carriageworks Studio Artist.

Special thanks to The Caiger Charitable Trust for supporting this exhibition

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