TREVOR BELL 'LINK' - 27/4 TO 22/5/12


My attitudes (over time) have placed specific emphasis on the ‘object on the wall’ versus the neutral area of the traditional canvas.

With regards to differences in approach to the external form (‘rounds’ and ‘rectilinears’), present throughout my career and together in this exhibition, I see them both being paintings but with either ‘pacific contours’ or ‘active contours’. In another sense you could say ‘with or without corners‘. The former being more open to implications of depth and implied external space which can freely develop an image, whereas the latter draws attention to it’s own fact and object nature and so is a holistic image in it’s own right. After so many periods of developing both types of work independently, I have found that recently working, once again on a pacific canvas to be a reclaimed freedom, but as a parallel to the slower more considered rounds, but either must generate a revealed presence and the feeling and realisation for that is the reason for working.

Trevor Bell, 2012


INTRODUCTION

To write on the paintings of Trevor Bell is both a joy and challenge. For decades, Trevor Bell has delighted and enriched us with his passion for painting, mastery of gesture and sublime colour. The recent paintings, so evocative of the changing moods of nature and light, are a breath of fresh air and breathtaking. Trevor’s exuberance, energy and enthusiasm for life and painting are evident, as are his ongoing innovation and individuality. My brief words are a personal response to these recent works.

I recently viewed his painting ‘Light Trap’, presently on view at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida in a gallery devoted to ‘Luminosity’. In his exhibition literature, curator Matthew McLendon writes on “the color of light” and paintings that “explore the interactions of large planes of colour”. He says “artists sought to exploit the tensions, the ebb and flow of sensations as washes of color that were juxtaposed with one another”. The exhibition ‘Luminosity’, works from the collection, and the recent installation of James Turrell’s skyspace ‘Joseph’s Coat’ celebrate light and color, as does ‘Light Trap’. The 1981 painting is a seminal Florida work, influenced and inspired by light and luminosity.

At the Millennium, the recent paintings are a visual orchestration of shape, surface, form, gesture, texture, colour and mood. From pearly white to bible black, with blues and oranges, color is used in rich resonance and evocative elegance. Paintings range from dark and sombre to light and joyous. Black and mysterious, ‘Tsu’ comes from seeing Japanese pots in the Asia Society, New York. Yet the work is not illustrative of, but inspired by that experience and has a unique, ominous presence. Another painting ‘Night Voyage ’is rich and resonant with dark blue, black gesture and white form. The mystery of mood and purity of painting is evident in these works, each different and distinctive. ‘Blue Dancer’, ‘Breaker’, ‘Depths’, ‘Gust’, ‘Marine’ and ‘Squall’ may be titles evocative of nature, yet the paintings are pure abstraction. For the past hundred years, painting no longer illustrates or copies nature but is liberated to deal with visual choreography, evident throughout this work. Trevor has travelled extensively and writes of his experiences from journeys in the Himalayas to the Florida launching of an Apollo spacecraft. All have influenced him, most of all his living in Cornwall where sky, sea, surf, storms, rock, cliff and elements offer ever changing contrast, discord and harmony. Trevor Bell is responsive to his surroundings yet his art remains universal and timeless. What more can be said about these works that celebrate painting and speak to us so eloquently.

Much has been written on the painting of Trevor Bell with many catalogues and countless essays published over the years. Insights are gained through the writings of many distinguished critics and artists. ‘Trevor Bell: a British painter in America’ is a catalogue of the 2003 exhibition organised by Florida State University with many essays. My own writings conclude “Trevor Bell has proved himself a significant and heroic painter who believes in the joy of painting. He has become a virtuoso of colour and an orchestrator of light. Thrust and gesture open up new and total realisations of space and sensation. His painting is to be enjoyed and acclaimed”. This 2012 exhibition is an opportunity to look anew with appreciation and awe at the work of this master painter at his zenith. Enjoy!


Roy Slade, Florida, 2012
Director Emeritus of Cranbrook Art Museum and former Director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art  



Storm Out There
mixed media on canvas . 195 x 210 cm





Quiet Sand
mixed media on canvas . 195 x 210 cm





Blue Dancer
mixed media on canvas . 195 x 210 cm





Spring White
mixed media on board . 117 x 120 cm





Tsu
mixed media on board . 117 x 120 cm





Mooring
mixed media on board . 90 x 90 cm





Wrengame
mixed media on board . 55 x 55 cm





Peak
mixed media on board . 55 x 55 cm





Flier
mixed media on board . 55 x 55 cm





Shuffle
mixed media on board . 55 x 55 cm





Tribe
mixed media on board . 55 x 55 cm





Iron
mixed media on canvas . 160 x 175 cm





Sea
mixed media on canvas . 140 x 230 cm





Squall
mixed media on canvas . 140 x 230 cm





Breaker
mixed media on canvas . 140 x 230 cm





Hammer
mixed media on canvas . 140 x 230 cm





Leading Light
mixed media on canvas . 152 x 152 cm





Marine
mixed media on canvas . 152 x 152 cm





Night Voyage
mixed media on canvas . 152 x 152 cm





Gust
mixed media on canvas . 152 x 152 cm





Depths
mixed media on canvas . 228 x 184 cm





Dawn
mixed media on canvas . 228 x 184 cm





Bay
mixed media on canvas . 140 x 233 cm





Trias
mixed media on canvas . 152 x 243 cm





Balances
mixed media on board . 45 x 45 cm  



Small works and painted essays have historically played a vital role in the evolution of the work.

The following pieces have been selected from various periods for their sympathies with the spirit in this exhibition:





Coastal Essay 1
mixed media on paper . 36 x 28 cm





Coastal Essay 2
mixed media on paper . 36 x 28 cm





Hendra / Florida
mixed media on paper . 36 x 28 cm





Breaking Link
mixed media on canvas . 36 x 28 cm





Rocky Coast
mixed media on canvas . 40 x 40 cm





Crossings
mixed media on foam board . 30 x 19 cm





Intrusion
mixed media on foam board . 30 x 21 cm





Blue Hole
mixed media on foam board . 30 x 19 cm





Two Forms
mixed media on foam board . 30 x 19 cm





Linking
mixed media on wood . 19 x 19 cm





Mist
mixed media on wood . 17 x 17 cm





Two Sides
mixed media on card . 28 x 36 cm





Multi System
mixed media on card . 21 x 20 cm





Small Rocker
mixed media on foam board . 28 x 30 cm