24 March 2009

Trevor Bell

I finally made it to the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery to see the Trevor Bell exhibition in its final week. It's a wonder that it's taken me so long to see, as I work in the same building as the gallery. but I got there in the end. Probably more spurred on by the fact that no else I had spoken to who had been was very impressed.

Well, I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately I couldn't find any good pictures of the pieces on display, but they were all white with splashes of navy and black. However, the most impressive pieces were where you saw white on white, which was only discernable thanks to the texture, which was often only apparent when you manoeuvred yourself so that the light hit it at the right angle.

The curved shapes of the canvases (I feel like canvi should be the plural, but i acknowledge that it is not) looks impressive in pictures, but in the flesh it's an absolute work of genius. My favourite part of each was that right on the rim of the frame, practically touching the wall and seemingly invisible until you practically crawled into the paintings (which i pretty much did) was a really thin line of colour, some of them a really intense pink or a deep blue, and once you'd spotted this is gave each piece a whole new hue when you looked at it. These pieces certainly didn't end with the canvas- the walls were as much a part of it.

I was so pleasantly suprised by this, I guess in my ignorance I presumed that they would transfix me in the way Rothko does, which I have to view from at least 8 feet to feel like I'm seeing them properly, but with Bell's work, I literally investigated the whole architecture of each piece, I had to navigate my way round every curve and bend and every change in texture and bump on the surface. They were totally more than strong brush work; the concept, the canvas, the execution were all apparent when viewing.

In trying to find some pictures of this exhibition I stumbled across a picture of one of his older pieces, which I think looks just as beautiful, albeit a little less challenging. I'm certainly eager to see more.

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