photos by Lars Larson
At first glance, Deborah Bell's paintings defy the laws of gravity. Yet, as the viewer's eye is drawn closer, what seems so free and airy reveals the ties of being human - those bonds we all forge with our hearts and eyes. What does it mean to behold, to believe and to feel? These are the questions Bell's art poses, with a unique and exquisite decisiveness.
This artist views her shapes, marks and lines as a method of writing, her personal and lyrical version of musical notation. Thus, the works Bell forges can transmit a vivid range of reflections, from the warm breath in an ecstatic lick of pink to the sharp stabs of grief that emanate from a forest of tear shapes - somber and tenebrous hues buoyed by touches of garnet and gold.
Each piece of Bell's work lives fully in the present. Yet no work is ever standing still. The lines and colors here are not content to merely resonate; instead they flame and float, soar and plunge, dance and rise.
The spectacle of Bell's palette, which can be audacious or delicate, also draws on disparate rhythms. It embraces songs, echoes and repetitions; from the gentlest breeze to the most profound ecstasy.
Bell unites color and movement with a rare exhilaration. In her paintings - sometimes made on antique maps or bearing snippets of actual language- she confronts the tasks of starting out, starting over and starting afresh. The sense of sacred poise this generates is appropriate, for with each work Bell's renews of her vows to our world.