Approved: 16.08.2006

Ellen Bell

Artist, Maker, Writer, Critic, Teacher

Approved: 16.08.2006

The nature of language, and, in particular, its limitations as a method of expressing deep and difficult feelings, informs much of my work. I work directly with books, texts and paper ephemera to create drawings, installations and sculptures that pose questions rather than deliver answers about how we communicate within our familial and intimate relationships. There is an intensity to the work –

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  • Location: Aberystwyth, Wales
  • Activities: Arts in health, Private commissions, Critical writing, Creative writing, Exhibitions programme
  • Categories: Book Works, Drawing, Illustration, Installation, Text
  • Tags: Text, Drawing, Collage, Illustration, Installation, Writing, Reviewing, Blog writing
 
 
 

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    Biography

    The nature of language, and, in particular, its limitations as a method of expressing deep and difficult feelings, informs much of my work. I work directly with books, texts and paper ephemera to create drawings, installations and sculptures that pose questions rather than deliver answers about how we communicate within our familial and intimate relationships. There is an intensity to the work – more akin to writing than drawing – involving a painstaking re-piecing together of texts that offer alternative meanings, narratives and contexts that question the role of language within emotive scenarios. The physicality of the books, the printed surface of the page and the design of the texts play an important role in the making of my work, as does the serendipity involved in the ‘finding’ of them – the musty smell, the grainy texture of the paper, the inconsistent heaviness of some of the type and the dated graphics of the book covers all play their part in seducing me into working with them. My work is pared down, seemingly simple. Some pieces involve a re-making of dictionary pages, where I focus on a particular word and expand upon its general definition by creating a stream of consciousness narrative that challenges the limitations of its given understanding. Other works feature figurative templates that contain text or other ephemera, such as stamps or fragments of book or magazine illustrations, through which memories are triggered or associations made. However, as with all drawings, the negative space plays an essential part in the understanding and reading of the pieces. The words and images in these pieces are animated, three-dimensional; they either jut off the page - casting rows of sharp, urgent tick-like shadows - or they undulate, forming an active, physical representation of speech, becoming tangible artefacts of intimate conversations.

    CV & Education

    Solo exhibitions 2011 - Camera Obscura & Other Stories, The Gallery in Redchurch Street, London 2010 - 'Story' The Plinth Project, Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol 2010 - Talk to Me, Chapel Row Gallery, BATH 2008 - Hard Words, Air Gallery, hosted by Four Square Fine Arts, Dover Street, London 2007 - Speaking Soul, City Gallery, Leicester 2005 - Texting, Charlotte Street Gallery, London 2005 - Woman's Realm, The Women's Library, London 2002 - Body Language, Charlotte Street Gallery, London Group exhibitions 2011 - Artists of Fame and Promise, Beaux Arts, BATH 2010 - Lingua Franca, Arnolfini, Bristol 2009 - Pulp Fictions, Rochester Art Gallery, Rochester, Kent 2007 - READesign, Mobile exhibition around North Shields, North Shields 2007 - READesign, Woodhorn Museum & Gallery, Northumberland 2006 - Prints Now: Directions and Definitions, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2005 - Body Languages: Four Women, Four Visions, Art Vitam Gallery, Miami, USA 2005 - Paperworks 2005, b. j. spoke gallery, Huntington, New York, USA 2004 - Art, Age and Gender, Usher Gallery, Lincoln 2004 - Collect 04, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2004 - Crossing the Line: Salthouse 04, Salthouse Church, Salthouse, North Norfolk 2004 - Hats and Gloves, City Gallery, Leicester; McManus Gallery, Dundee; Mansfield Museum, Mansfield; Hatworks Hat Museum, Stockport 2004 - Haunt, Sherborne House, Sherborne, Dorset 2004 - Made at Wysing, Wysing Arts, Bourn, Cambridgeshire 2004 - Sofa, Chicago, USA 2003 - Sartorial, England and Co, London 2002 - Art, Age and Gender, Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham 2001 - Body Beautiful, 20/21, Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe 2001 - Starting a collection, Art First, Cork Street, London 2000 - December Show, England & Co., Westbourne Grove, London 2000 - Kettles Yard Open, Cambridge 1998 - Barbarella:dolls and doll imagery, Sasson Gallery, Folkstone, national touring exhibition Live/Performance 2012 - Only Connect Lab, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales 2010 - Lingua Franca, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol Other 2011 - Battersea Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Evolution, Battersear Park, London