Roberley Bell’s work is inspired by nature and rooted in the art historical tradition of organic abstraction. Her practice draws on the world around her, in particular the observation of nature within the built environment. As an artist, her work predominantly centers on the production of sculpture and site-specific public projects. Bell’s work both abstracts and borrows from the natural world to reveal hyper-realized fantastical compositions. Color, pattern and form are essential elements in her sculptural compositions.
Bell spent her childhood in Latin America and Southeast Asia. She attended the University of Massachusetts and State University of New York at Alfred from where she holds an MFA in Sculpture. Bell is the recipient of many grants and fellowships including, a Pollock Krasner Fellowship and a 2010 Senior Scholar Fulbright to Turkey. Bell’s Fulbright topic, The City as Site of Intervention, resulted in a series of projects in public spaces throughout the city of Istanbul. Bell has received several residency awards both nationally and internationally including the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sculpture Space and the International Studio Program. In 2015, she was an artist-in-residence at Chesterwood, Stockbridge, MA (the home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French). Internationally, she has had residencies at the Stadt künstlerhaus, Salzburg Austria and the National Center for Contemporary Art Kaliningrad, Russia. Recent solo exhibitions included, The Shape of the Afternoon, 2014, at the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; In Conversation, 2015, The Hermitage Museum and Gardens, Norfolk ,VA; and Early One Morning, 2016, BT&C Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Bell has completed public projects in Cambridge, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Baltimore, Albany, Buffalo, Istanbul, Turkey and Kaliningrad, Russia. Bell lives and works in Western New York.
Do You Know This Tree?, 2017 This publication by VSW Press collects daily walks Bell took from an apartment in Istanbul to various trees she photographed five years prior. The book’s diary-like text reveals Bell’s thoughts and document her encounters as she searches for these “ugly” trees that in their caretaking represent for the artist the humanity of the city of Istanbul. Click here to preview and purchase. Artifacts in the Landscape, 2015 This 60 page full-color limited-edition book brings together seven projects from the past fifteen years that represent both interior and exterior installations. Available for purchase through the gallery. Contact us to request a copy.
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Over the past decade my work has centered on the production of sculpture and site specific public projects. My work explores the natural world both in abstracting from, and in borrowing, to reveal hyper-realized fantastical landscapes. My current series Other Landscapes fast-forwards the origins of organic abstraction into the 21st century. My forms take their cue from Blob Design. Like the current trend in design where buildings and form adopt an organic structure that is made possible only though computer-aided design, my Other Landscapes sculptures reveal themselves as natural forms, though they are, in fact, paradoxically based on nothing that exists in nature. The Other Landscapes series continues to explore the space where the artificial meets the real. My sculptures reconsider or interrogate what is real against what is not, to the point where even nature itself is uncertain. It is my intent to employ our imagination and our senses even with the artifice. My prints and book works are an extension of the themes explored in my large-scale installations.