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T R E V O R B E L L AT E I G H T Y E A R T H A I R F I R E WAT E R A E T H E R


“I think about things that excite me: convoluted strata, the eroded and broken edges of cliffs, the constant interaction of the elements, the movement of boats on water… I think about the object and its inner image; the activity of each and the play between the two and I try to be straight forward to remove unnecessary information. Fo r a l l t h e t h e o r i z i n g , f o r m a l a n d c o n c e p t u a l n o t i o n s , t h e t r u t h of the matter is that I see myself as a conduit - the titles come afterwards so that I don’t impose myself on the work as it goes along. Then I leave it alone. I have been saying the same thing all my working life, just in different ways.”

This was written for my 2002 Lydon Contemporary exhibition in Chicago and here I am in 2010 realizing that whatever I might conjure up - I could not, and should not say more.

Trevor Bell 2010

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Introduction

It is an enormous privilege to be showcasing this extraordinary e x h i b i t i o n o f n e w w o r k b y Tr e v o r B e l l t o c o m m e m o r a t e h i s eightieth birthday. As I write these words, with raw memory having recently arrived back from the studio, having been confronted by this monumental collection, I have to pinch myself to re-register that this giant of 20th and now 21st Century painting has created these paintings unaided at such a grand age. However whilst marveling at the brave and youthful energy of the physical gestural mark making it is clear that they could only have been achieved to such effect aided by the wisdom and confidence of advanced experience. Such a rare combination is incredibly inspiring, indeed moving. This afternoon whilst at the studio I pointed to a photograph of Bell working on an epic painting standing some two stories high taken whilst in the USA some years ago. “I’ve still got it in me you know ” Bell enforced, with that steely (now familiar) look with associated glint in the eye. I have no doubt about it. The work itself needs no further introduction by me - the exhibition title suggests enough, and of course the paintings themselves say it all, when seen and when felt. I have however placed extracts from selected texts written about Bell’s works over the years by way of paying homage to this important occasion and to a remarkable man who’s life time has been spent making work of such impact and timeless relevance.

Joseph Clarke 2010

2


Windance

mixed media on board and ply wood

117 x 100 cm 3


4


Windance Duet

mixed media on board and ply wood

107 x 193 cm 5


6


The Spontaneity that we have idolised since the coming of Romanticism as the hallmark of sincerity and creative drive is here replaced by a tactical skill that marshals pictorial elements and firmly controls them without denying them their individual life.

Norbert Lynton Art Critic and Historian New Statesman, 1964

Windance Three

mixed media on board and ply wood

101 x 98 cm 7


Swe l l

8

mixed media on board and ply wood

109 x 190 cm


9


10


Split

mixed media on board and ply wood

110 x 240 cm

11


Gus t

12

mixed media on board and ply wood

52 x 112 cm


Voyage

mixed media on board and ply wood

116 x 285 cm

13


14


Trevor Bell’s paintings cover a range wider than most artists would think prudent. What makes them so interesting is that his themes run parallel rather than in strict sequence... But after experiencing su rprise at the difference of the works one begins to understand their basic and persistent themes and finds a strong sense of continuity... From 1960 - 1963 Bell was making paintings whose interior shapes referred to landscape - but to the forces as much as to the forms of landscape; and it was this concern for what is best described as dynamics which led him naturally into an investigation of the mechanisms of painting itself.

John Elderfield Head Curator of MOMA New York and Art Historian 1970

Knife

mixed media on canvas

72 x 83 cm 15


One of the most important painters working anywhere today is Trevor Bell... As far as I am concerned [Bell’s paintings] are far and away the most original and successful shaped canvas paintings - which remain paintings - to have been produced anywhere. But the task of justifying this judgement and of explaining, even to myself, the reasons for their very great power and beauty is daunting in the extreme, because so much about their construction, their literal appearance and colour, is unique and therefor outside existing terms of formal comparison and analysis.

Patrick Heron Artist 1970

Anc i e n t 16

mixed media on canvas

72 x 83 cm


17


18


Works on paper and studies for paintings stand up well on their own, showing careful thought that underlines the blazing paintings... With their disarming appearance of irresponsible spontaneity. A tough, experienced and travelled sensibility has been at work, making light-filled glowing paintings which flirt interestingly somewhere between stridency and serenity.

Marina Vaizey Art Critic, Author, Curator, Broadcaster Financial Times, 1973

Big Oval

mixed media on canvas

212 x 261 cm

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Hee l

20

mixed media on canvas

196 x 211 cm


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22


Bell has chosen to set before us images which, in part, are to do with the energy of human touch set against a pictorial space which evokes the painting tradition of evocations of the sublime. In this way, encouragingly and honestly naive in our contemporary culture which values such feelings below the cynical and the pessimistic, Bell reflects the optimism which has always underpinned the best abstract art.

Michael Tooby Gallery Director and Curator Tate Gallery St. Ives catalogue, 1999

Stop

mixed media on canvas

163 x 158 cm 23


Spike 24

mixed media on canvas

161 x 165 cm


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26


Breaker

mixed media on canvas

161 x 165 cm 27


Bell’s immediate surroundings, and the craggy Cornish coastline in particular, provided important stimuli for his abstractions. Like the early Kandinsky, he often derived his motifs from the landscape, then distilled them to the point where their origins are obscured but not los t.

Helen A Harrison Art Critic and Historian New York Times, 2002

Roc k 28

mixed media on canvas

163 x 158 cm


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30


Danger

mixed media on canvas

161 x 165 cm 31


Bell’s art is, in the loosest sense, spiritual. It evokes, or reflects, an idea of some abstract force that exceeds material reality... In this sense, we can see his art as solidly rooted in the values of 1950’s St. Ives, where artists sought to salvage the fantasy of utopian modernis m for the post-war world through a reengagement with nature. The dangers and losses of the modern world would be compensated through the rediscovery of natural order and process, and a renewed sense of individual identity would be established through the exploration of forces larger than ourselves. Bell’s work, one might say, has always derived in one way or another from this new sublime.

Chris Stephens Head of Displays at Tate Britain Modern Painters, 2000

Floa t 32

mixed media on canvas

163 x 158 cm


33


Che e r 34

mixed media on board

5 9 x 5 9 x 1 0 cm


Cheeky

mixed media on board

55 x 55 x 10 cm 35


Trevor Bell Born in Leeds 1930, Currently living in Cornwall. Solo Exhibitions 2010 2009 2007 2006 2005 2004/5 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1996 1995 1994

Trevor Bell at Eighty - Earth Air Fire Water Aether Haste Slowly, Millennium, St.Ives Nothing Extra, Leeds University Gallery Moving Right Along, Waterhouse & Dodd, London White and Colour, New Millennium Gallery, St Ives Before Sea, After Earth, Waterhouse & Dodd, London Large Works, Waterhouse & Dodd, London Saïd Gallery, Oxford Still – The New Paintings, Lydon Fine Art, Chicago Trevor Bell: Heatscape – The Florida Six and Still – The New Paintings, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth Calm Squares, Allusive Forms, New Millennium Gallery, St Ives Recent Work, Lydon Fine Art, Chicago Trevor Bell: Beyond Materiality, Tate Gallery, St Ives New Millennium Gallery, St Ives Trevor Bell: A British Painter in America, Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee, Florida The Gulf Coast Museum, Largo, Florida Lydon Fine Art, Chicago Galerie Pelar Ltd, Greenport, New York Seven Worchester, Bath Lydon Fine Art, Chicago New Millennium Gallery, St Ives North Light Gallery, Huddersfield Stephen Lacey Gallery, London Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, Florida Falmouth College of Arts, Falmouth Illinois Centre, Chicago Art Collectors Gallery, Coral Gables, Florida Mercantile Exchange Building, Chicago Marsha Orr Contemporary Fine Art, Tallahassee, Florida Lydon Fine Art, Chicago 1993 Division of Cultural Affairs, Tallahassee, Florida Lydon Fine Art, Chicago Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan 1992 Foster Harmon Gallery, Sarasota, Florida Lydon Fine Art, Chicago Jaffe/Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida 1992 621 Gallery, Tallahassee, Florida 36

1991 1990 1989 1988 1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1975 1974 1973 1970 1969 1964 1962 1963 1960

Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami Florida Center for the Arts, Vero Beach, Florida Foster Harmon Gallery, Florida Lydon Fine Art, Chicago Eve Mannes Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia Gillian Jason Gallery, London New Art Centre, London Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida Gloria Luria Gallery, Bal Harbour, Florida Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida Charleston College, South Carolina Foster Harmon Gallery, Sarasota, Florida Cummer Museum, Jacksonville, Florida Metropolitan Museum, Coral Gates, Miami, Florida Gloria Luria Gallery, Bal Harbour, Florida Big Magenta installation, Florida State University Center for Professional Development, Tallahassee, Florida Shaped Work from the 60s, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida National Academy of Science, Washington DC Artspace, Miami, Florida Intimate Works on Paper, Virginia Miller Gallery, Coral Gables, Florida Artspace, Miami, Florida University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida Five Bar exhibited, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida Four Arts Center, ICA, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida Major Works. Virginia Miller Gallery, Coral Gables, Miami, Florida Southern Cross exhibited, Bundestag, Bonn, Germany Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C. Whitechapel Art Gallery, London Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh Arts Council of Northern Ireland Gallery, Belfast Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield Park Square Gallery, Leeds Lancaster University Greenwich Gallery, London Waddington Gallery, London Waddington Gallery, London Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford Waddington Gallery, London

1958

Waddington Gallery, London


Selected Public Collections Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal Aberdeen Art Gallery Arts Council of Great Britain American Express Astra Zeneca, Boston, Massachussetts Balliol College, Oxford Nett Bank, Florida British Council British Museum Broward County Courthouse, Florida Clearwater Federal, Clearwater, Florida Coca-Cola World Headquarters, Florida Contemporary Arts Society Department of Management Services, Tallahassee, Florida Department of Transportation, Fort Lauderdale, Florida Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Education Authority, Hull Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Georgia Florida House of Representatives, Tallahassee, Florida Florida Power and Light, Miami, Florida Florida State University Museum, Florida Getty Center for the History of Art, Los Angeles, California IBM Collection, Atlanta, Boca Raton, Florida and New York Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle Leeds City Museum Leicester Museum and Art Gallery Leon County Civic Center, Tallahassee, Florida McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida Northwest Regional Data Center, State University System, Florida Orlando Aviation Authority, Florida Park Bank, Sarasota, Florida Pegasus Solutions, Dallas Texas Philips International, Eindhoven, Holland Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Playboy Corporation Collection, Chicago

Regency Group Collection Ringling Art Museum, Sarasota, Florida Rouse Company Collection Rugby Library, Gallery & Museum Shearson Lehman Hutton Collection, New York Slaughter and May, London Southern Bell, Jacksonville, Florida St Anne’s College, Oxford St Catherine’s College, Oxford Tate Gallery, London Trinity College, Oxford University of Leeds University of Stirling University of Sussex, Brighton UVU Keleia Collection, Ljubljana Victoria & Albert Museum, London Wakefield City Art Gallery Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester John Lewis Group Terence Disdale Design Numerous private collections in Europe, Canada and the United States Prizes and Fellowships Paris Biennale Major Prize Winner Gregory Fellow, Leeds University Italian Government Scholarship Florida Art Fellowship Emeritus Professor, Florida State University Honorary R.W.A Honorary Fellow, University College Falmouth Further Reading Trevor Bell by Chris Stephens, published by Sanson & Company, ISBN 978-1-904537-88-5

Polk Museum, Florida Prudential Insurance Collection

All works in this exhibition 2008 - 2010 37


“ This work is a celebration of life and the act of painting. Walk up close and allow the paintings to fill your peripheral vision - feel the physicality of the experience. Their image sense is potent.� Lynne Green Writer, Publisher and former Director of Southampton Art Gallery Trevor Bell : Both Ends of The Stream, 2009

Oga m 38

mixed media on canvas

1 4 8 x 2 0 0 cm


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40


Art does not make social statements, but contributes to society on a deeper, less tangible level. I feel that what we should get from art is a sense of wonder, of something beyond ourselves, that celebrates our ‘being’ here.

Trevor Bell Modern Painters 2002


Published by Millennium to coincide with the exhibition ‘ Trevor Bell at Eighty - Earth Air Fire Water Aether’ All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publishers Photography by Steve Tanner Printed by St Austell Printing Company (www.sapc.co.uk) ISBN 978-1-905772-37-7

MILLENNIUM Str eet-an-Pol St. Ives Cornwall 01736 793121 m a i l @ m i l l e n n i u m g a l l e r y. c o . u k w w w . m i l l e n n i u m g a l l e r y. c o . u k

Trevor Bell at Eighty - Earth Air Fire Water Aether  

40 page catalogue of the exhibition 'Trevor Bell at Eighty - Earth Air Fire Water Aether' held at Millennium St Ives.

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