Kelley Bell: Eureka! Heavy Light Machinery
Event Type: exhibitions
You can practically hear the gears whirring, steam whistling and time colliding in Kelley Bell’s animations, which flicker like a Buster Keaton film, meditating on topics from urban gentrification to death, consumerism, and rock and roll. She operates in the most contemporary of media – digital video – but resists being trapped in the present. Not only does Bell freely range through history for inspiration, but she often takes her work to the street, from her much-publicized installation in the clock face of the Bromo Seltzer tower in downtown Baltimore, to guerilla projections that she likens to “video graffiti,” ironic vignettes cast surreptitiously on the sides of buildings slated for demolition from the back of a van at night.
Where Ghosts Come From (The Kubler-Ross Device) is part of a series of “machines” which Bell has fashioned to embody abstract concepts. Here each component of the device acts out one of Kubler-Ross’ celebrated seven stages of grief. The figure of a deceased loved one is ground up to produce fuel that generates steam power, firing pistons that jerk back and forth like struggling emotions, eventually releasing a ghost of the original figure that floats away peacefully. With Immersive Ideal, her collaboration with the DC band Beauty Pill, she combines video and sculpture to document the band’s project at Artisphere in Arlington, where a black box theater was converted into a recording studio, with the public invited to watch them like monkeys at the zoo.
A full time faculty member at UMBC, Bell has a successful career as a graphic designer (including the logo and graphic identity for the Creative Alliance). Her animations have been screened locally and as far away as Berlin, Germany. She was a recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in 2004, and a semifinalist for the Sondheim Art Prize in 2010 and 2011.
On view March 3-31
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