Jessica Bell’s most recent work presents the very idea of constructing a painting as a way of making sense of the world. Using simple materials and formal devices like folding or inflating she subtly makes allusions to ordinary events and experiences. Her works frequently bear the marks of incidental studio occurrences, which conjure a conversation between the will of objects and the artist’s intention to activate them. Canvas and stretchers appear like characters, assuming the posture of active participants instead of subservient structure. Her pieces engage with and resonate in one another, emphasizing the temporal relationships she conjures within physical spaces. Jessica Bell’s forms are deliberately abstract and minimal, drawing our attention to subtle differences in the surfaces of material, gentle play with volume and light, and the quiet passage of time.
Originally from Montreal, Jessica Bell holds a BA Art History (with distinction) from the University of Calgary and an MFA from the University of Ottawa’s Department of Visual Arts. She has exhibited at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (Milwaukee, WI), Richmond Art Gallery (Richmond, BC), Idea Exchange (Cambridge, ON), Ottawa’s Karsh-Masson Gallery, and the National Gallery of Canada where she was a finalist in the 2013 RBC Canadian Painting Competition, a prize she is nominated for again in 2015. Should we stop here? is a playful adaptation and extension of Jessica Bell’s graduate thesis work recently exhibited at the Ottawa Art Gallery’s historic Firestone Gallery.