University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
“Sharon Bell has been making serious delicate collages of spellbinding composition forever,” noted Mat Gleason, who included her his 2011 “Tel-Art-Phone” show. Writing in Visions Art Quarterly, Brian Butler observed, “The power of the small, of the intimate, contrasts yet is infused with the heroic scale of Abstract Expressionism. In looking at Bell’s work we contemplate the strange idea that it can now be heroic to do small work.”
An L.A. native, she holds a BA in Painting/Sculpture/Graphic Arts from UCLA and an MFA in Painting from Claremont Graduate University, and also studied at Art Center College of Design. The Nevada Museum of Art hosted a solo exhibit of her gouache paintings in 2010. Her work in various media has been seen in group shows at Mash, PØST, Louis Stern, Couturier, Kohn/Turner, Turner/Krull, Jan Baum, Zero One and Ruth Bachofner galleries, as well as the Palm Springs Art Museum and Long Beach and Los Angeles city colleges.
2018 “CoutureMash,” curated by Lisa Derrick, Mash Gallery, Los Angeles
“That Layered Look,” curated by Peter Frank, Tufenkian Gallery, Glendale
2017 PØST Art Auction, PØST, Los Angeles [also 2016]
2016 “Suites [(sweets)],” group exhibition of small works, Groundspace Project, Los Angeles
2015 “Holiday Art Show,” Groundspace Project
2014 “Paper Trails: New Collage,” curated by Peter Frank, The Loft at Liz’s, Los Angeles
“Three Painters: Sharon Bell, Kerry Kugelman, Michael Maas,” Groundspace Project
2013 “13-4-13” and “Salon Style Saturday,” Coagula Curatorial, Los Angeles
2012 “Holiday Art Show,” Groundspace Project
“True Blue,” Sangria Fine Arts, Lake Balboa, CA
“Four Seasons of Flora and Spice,” The Loft at Liz’s
“Edge,” Los Angeles City College, Da Vinci Art Gallery
2011 “Tel-Art-Phone,” curated by Mat Gleason, Beacon Arts Building, Inglewood
2010 “Rearranging: Works by Sharon Bell,” Nevada Museum of Art, Reno*
2000 “Best of the West Show,” Zero One Gallery, Los Angeles
“Works on Paper,” PØST
1998 “Tales of Los Angeles,” Couturier Gallery, Los Angeles
“Best of the West Show,” Zero One Gallery, Los Angeles
“100 Dollar Show & Up,” PØST [also 1997 and 1996]
1997 “Fair Art ‘97,” Spanish Kitchen Gallery, Los Angeles
“Coagula’s Second Annual National Los Angeles Juried Exhibition,” Spanish Kitchen Gallery
1996 “Present Art IV,” Couturier Gallery [also III, II, and I, 1995, 1994, 1993]
1995 “Pasted Papers: Collage and the 20th Century,” Louis Stern Fine Art, West Hollywood
1994 “Get Back,” Claremont Graduate School Alumni Exhibition, Kohn Turner Gallery, West Hollywood
“California Open,” Long Beach (CA) Arts Gallery
“Second International,” Gallery 57, Fullerton, CA
“25th Annual National Juried Exhibition,” Palm Springs (CA) Desert Museum
1993 “Ten,” Eye Grind Gallery, Los Olivos, CA
“Intimate Spaces V,” Gallery 57
“Intimate Images II,” LACA Gallery, Los Angeles
“Precious Space,” De la Guerra Gallery, Santa Barbara
1992 “The Sticking Place: Space & Image in Contemporary Collage,” Long Beach (CA)City College
“National ‘92 Small Works Exhibition,” Schoharie County Arts Council, New York
“Kaleidoscope ‘92,” Glendale (CA) Regional Arts Council
1991 “Photo Salon: A Selection of Over 60 New Photographic Talents in Los Angeles,”Turner/Krull Gallery, Los Angeles
“Sharon Bell: Constructivist Collage Works,” Walker and Walker Gallery, Santa Monica*
1990 “Mix,” Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles
“Wallworks,” L.A. Artcore’s Seventh Juried Competition (Third prize)
1989 “Variations Los Angeles: The Form,” Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica
“Long Beach Open” reviewed by Peter Frank, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Aug. 7, 1994.
“Ten” reviewed by Dena Hawes, Santa Barbara Independent, Aug. 26, 1993.
“Ten” reviewed by Joan Crowder, Santa Barbara News-Press, Aug. 19,1993.
“The Sticking Place” reviewed by Judith Hoffberg, Visions, Summer 1993.
“Precious Space” reviewed by Joan Crowder, Santa Barbara News-Press, Jan. 15, 1993 (reproduction).
“Precious Space” reviewed by Michael W. Darling, Santa Barbara Independent, Jan. 21, 1993.
“Changing of the Guard: ‘Collage’ at Tobey C. Moss; ‘The Sticking Place’ at Long Beach City College,” by Alicia Vaughn, Artweek, Dec. 17, 1992.
“Precious Space: Vastness Measured In Inches,” by Brian Butler, Visions, Fall 1991 (reproduction).
“Reconstructivist Painting: Neo-Modern Abstraction in the United States,” by Peter Frank, Artspace,March/April 1990 (reproduction).
“To Be Young, Gifted and Los Angeleno,” by Peter Frank, Visions, summer 1989 (reproduction).
The heroic but sparse gestural feel of modernist painterly abstraction combines with the familiar imagery of pop-image collage in Sharon Bell’s work. Size and imaginary scale clash conspicuously in her works. The collages do not often grow beyond five spare inches (floating in the creamy neutrality of standard-size drawing paper), but the scale of these images is certainly vast. This disjuncture of size and scale, as well as a clash between space and frontality . . . creates visual contradictions. Cultural space is also used and again made precious through the appropriation and arbitrary combination of fragmented imagery which retains sly bits of its original identity as mundane things. Abstraction in Bell’s work is composed of concrete, everyday elements. A city-like grid imposes itself upon the smaller parts — the artifacts of the city — in many of these collages. The power of the small, of the intimate, contrasts yet is infused with the heroic scale of Abstract Expressionism. In looking at Bell’s work we contemplate the strange idea that it can now be heroic to do small work.—Brian Butler, Visions Art Quarterly
Sharon Bell [packs] her collaged pieces with depth, angles and action. They are small environments. Yet as filled with movement as they are, they have a sense of spaciousness. It is artistic wizardry to create such as environment without making it look like it’s a snippet of something else.—Joan Crowder, Santa Barbara News-Press
“The Sticking Place: Space and Image in Contemporary Collage” gathered together a most diverse group of artists who all happen to share an instinct for collage, no matter what media they use. Sharon Bell, for example, takes color photographs and reconstitutes them into constructivist abstractions, their recognizable parts making architectural wholes. Bell’s works are small, rhythmically geometric, and appropriately framed as if jewels in a treasure vault.—Judith Hoffberg, Visions Art Quarterly
Sharon Bell’s Untitled #192 and Untitled #194 are small-format collages of intimate interior spaces in which familiar objects transcend their scale and function. Next to a Corinthian column is a gold filigree ring of similar scale, floating with other, less distinguishable objects. By playing with established notions of identification and function, Bell addresses issues such as preciousness and importance — the hierarchy of objects when measured by preconceived values of material, weight, form, and size.—Dena Hawes, The Santa Barbara Independent
Sharon Bell’s series of small collages confirms her talent for putting big things into small packages. She packs elements of depth, perspective light and shadow into spaces about 4 by 5 inches. She mixes objects that our minds tell us are large — such as Ionic columns — with elements that we think of as small, such as jigsaw puzzle pieces. In her Lilliputian environments they assume the same scale. They are superimposed and juxtaposed to suggest fanciful architectural spaces. They become keyhole glimpses into dream worlds.—Joan Crowder, Santa Barbara News-Press
She is capable of evoking visual poetry.—Michael W. Darling, The Santa Barbara Independent