Jay Bell. A Time

1 Jun 2024 – 29 Jun 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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Bermudez Projects is thrilled to present Jay Bell: A Time, the San Diego-based artist’s debut solo exhibit at our gallery located in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Cypress Park.


In over a dozen paintings, Bell explores his personal narrative through intimate paintings of motor vehicles. Employing the tradition of portrait painters throughout art history, the artist documents his life and relationships using cars, vans, and trucks as vehicles for emotional engagement and reflection. These paintings are developed from photographs Bell utilizes as tools for documenting his day to day life and travels. The scale of the paintings is consistent with the proportions of traditional photographs and the layered process of oil painting allows for a meditative reflection on the subjects, typically the vehicles of friends, family, and neighbors.

“I don’t want to be too literal, but this body of work is chronicling the past year of my life,” says Bell. “The paintings are vehicles for sharing my personal narrative – the moving trucks [for example illustrate me leaving my home]; the views of my neighbors’ cars and homes from my old driveway; the cars/trucks of new friends and travels.”

An element of class differences is also seen in these works, as viewers will recognize makes and models of vehicles that are definitely associated with one’s place in the socio-economic strata. From the non-descript utility van to the Jeep Grand Cherokee; from a beige pick-up truck to a white Land Rover. Each painting serves as a snapshot of the artist’s life in Southern California.

“When looking at Bell’s work, it’s clear how the paintings are as much a commentary on SoCal’s car culture, as much as a they are a window into the people who own them,” states gallery owner, Julian Bermudez. “In lieu of the actual people, Bell has chosen their respective cars or trucks or vans to tell – not only his – but their stories, which deepens the conversation about our attachment to our rides.”

Akin to a documentary filmmaker, Bell examines the nuances of the American experience through meticulously executed paintings. His artistic oeuvre is an exercise in simultaneous observation and introspection with the intention of connecting and engaging in a time of polarization and disconnectedness.

“Creating paintings of the vehicles of friends, neighbors, and family deepens [my] relationships; and, a magical energy radiates from the work,” adds Bell. “[They’re] also a jumping off point for many, many animated stories.”

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Jay Bell


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