“The physicality of the books, the printed surface of the page and the design of the texts play an important role in the making of my work, as does the serendipity involved in the ‘finding’ of them – the musty smell, the grainy texture of the paper, the inconsistent heaviness of some of the type and the dated graphics of the book covers, all play their part in seducing me into working with them.”
Ellen Bell has studied a variety of disciplines including, Theatre Design, Illustration and Fine Art which have helped her to create beautiful conceptual works communicating complex messages about language, identity and relationships. She is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Aberystwyth.
Bell specialises in using found ephemera in her work gathered from everyday life – books – often familiar works of fiction, dictionaries, magazines, streetmaps, postage stamps from bygone eras. These materials, having been used and discarded by previous owners, have an appeal because of the associations and allusions created in the artists’ mind and which can then be transformed into a unique artwork. These associations are often humorous, sometimes with a narrative and a serious undertone.
Ellen Bell creates her work with precision and a meticulous attention to detail. Although more commonly working on a small scale and with visually monochrome compositions, colour and texture is created in the mind by the profound effect the works have on one’s own individual thoughts, associations and experiences long after the work has been viewed. Her most recent series of work, Learning to Read feature books that she remembers encountering as a child long before she was able to understand and appreciate them. This series is about memory - one that is sparked by encounters with book jackets, whose imagery recalls a past shaped by their stories.
Ellen Bell has completed installations using text for public art projects including Leicester City Gallery and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. She is represented by Four Square Fine Arts in the UK.