Gemma Gené is an architect and visual artist from Barcelona, Spain, based in New York. She moved to the United States to earn a Master in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University. In 2014 immediately upon graduation she joined Steven Holl Architects until she focused on developing her artistic studio work.
She previously obtained a degree in architecture at La Salle University in Barcelona, Spain, and expanded her education in Architecture and Fine Art at Escola da Cidade, São Paulo, Brazil and University of California Berkeley. She is an award-winning painter and published illustrator. Her work focuses on wrapped objects and foil balloons. The series “unapologetic paintings” is a collection of realistic paintings and drawings of wrapped objects. In this series the object is hidden and the only thing showing it is its skin or it’s wrapping and it can only be revealed by the user’s imagination. She relies on urban art as a way to make her work accessible. Part of her three-dimensional work shares her architectural language and is a study of volume and geometry using stone, concrete and 3D print. Her work has been shown in New York at the Accessible Art Fair, The Rush Arts Gallery and Figment NYC amongst others, Barcelona and Madrid.
She is best known for her online comic 157ofgemma where she narrates in an ironic fashion her life with her inseparable pug Mochi that has a very strong following on social media.
Her work has been published in many books, and online blogs like Artnet, Archdaily, The Jealous Curator, Blouin Art and Design Taxi amongst others.
I believe in the beauty and power of common objects to communicate feelings from fun to sadness or loneliness. And I am fascinated by reflective materials, balloons, and transparencies. Specially balloons because they are very humble objects but they have a life of their own (not unlike us) in which they grow towards being more and more inflated very quickly and then begin a slow process of decay and deflation. Foil balloons are very reflective, so their appearance is also affected and modified by their surroundings, again, not unlike human beings. In my work I like taking everyday objects and editing them so they become something else, changing the perspective we have of them and giving us a chance to look at the beauty of the world surrounding us with fresh new eyes.
I wrap objects in a material that hides the object and reflects it’s surroundings. The series “unapologetic paintings” is a collection of installations, street art pieces and realistic paintings and drawings of wrapped objects. In this series the object is hidden and the only thing showing it is its skin or it’s wrapping and it can only be revealed by the user’s imagination. What the viewer sees is a "skin" that summarizes the object's geometry creating a new one. I rely on urban art as a way to make her work accessible. One of the pieces of her series “unapologetic paintings” was a Street art piece where the object wrapped was her dog Mochi to protest against using dogs as objects.