AboutThis summer John Martin Gallery will present the work of South African artist, Deborah Bell in a major solo exhibition in June, and two large installations at the Glyndebourne Festival. Internationally recognised, Deborah Bell's work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art New York, The Smithsonian Institute and the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C, and the Hara Museum, Tokyo. Bell is also widely known for her collaborative projects with William Kentridge and Robert Hodgins between 1986 and 2008 which produced a body of etchings, installations and films.
In recent years Bell's practice has increasingly drawn on the spiritual legacy of ancient civilisations. This enduring presence, something once described as evoking a 'mystical godliness', is now a central aspect to all her work. Defining herself unequivocally as an artist in Africa and often working on a monumental scale, Bell achieves an overwhelming sense of strength and permanence both in her drawings, etchings and paintings as well as in her bronze and clay sculptures echoing her belief that the artist must endeavour to 'materialise what exists, and what has existed for all time'. The presence of symbols, texts and recurring motifs seem to invoke ancient memories, as if the act of making becomes in itself, a spiritual rite and a way of connecting to some resonance that exists across time. That sense of permanence that pervades her work is there, simply because it has always been there.