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Deborah Bell

Artist 169

Deborah Bell



Deborah Bell (born 1957) is a South African artist who specializes in painting and sculpting. She works in a range of media on canvas and paper, including dry point etchings and large-scale bronzes.

Her earlier works were more political but have given way to a broader, deeper investigation into the borders of duality of existence be it mortality and immortality, matter and spirit, presence and absence, the quotidian and the mythic, the grounded and transcendent.

Her iconography draws from a range of cultures (including African, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, early Christian and European) and a range of philosophies (especially the Buddhist preoccupation with stillness and the shedding of attachment and the ego) and psychologies (more Jung than Freud).

A central theme in her work is to make the unknown present – she uses the series of powerful images that are both of her and beyond her.

Bell is interested in the half-formed image – the unwritten, as yet unformed spaces we move towards in our quest for self-knowledge. More recent work has also become more concerned with surrender – to the higher self, the mystery of the universe, the simplicity of the present.

All her art, she has stated, works towards the Zen mark: the single gesture of absolute presence. Her quest is ongoing – and has left in its wake a series of hugely powerful, totemic images from what Yeats called Spiritus Mundi.

I love the feeling her works inspire within me. There is an eerie elegance within them.

Sources Consulted:…/DEBORA…/biography/


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