Sue Bell: Young at Heart

An exploration of childhood memories referencing family mementos from the past and present.

Sue Bell_10 altered matchboxes_detail

'Young At Heart’…‘I feel younger than when I was young'.…                                               
                                                           Jean Cocteau

'Memories gather like cobwebs over the years and slowly emerge at odd moments. My baby shoes, which my mother carried around lovingly for many years are a trigger for many images. This complex mix of imagery is put together like a scattered narrative in a dream.

As a child my nickname was ’Sparrow’, due to my small stature. As an adult I kind of like the name as the memories of school are fond ones. The bird imagery is often used as a metaphor for myself in different circumstances.
Birds and dogs also feature in many memories some happy and some rather melancholy depending on their lives.

Parts of stories such as ‘Peter Pan’ and the film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ surface periodically and find their way into these works. Multi-layering images and bringing them into a new time frame works the way memory does.
Satre notes that the fact that we remember things, or that objects evoke our memories is as much about the present as it is about the past'.

View details of  the exhibition works                         

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Sue Bell in conversation with Niomi Sands Gallery Director

What are you proudest of in your work?
As a latecomer to arts university studies I am very pleased I had the opportunity to start a BA Vis Arts in the 1990’s. For health reasons I was unable to finish but it enriched my life to such a point that I was able to complete an independent study whilst in Japan and an artist’s residency in Beijing. These experiences had a profound effect on my subsequent work and thinking.

Which artists or creative people do you admire?
There have been so many but most importantly Georges Braque, French painter,
Kevin Lincoln, Australian artist, Gaston Bachelard, French philosopher, and Marcel Proust, French writer.

What are you working on at the moment?
I work thematically and usually set myself an agenda but having just finished a body of work I will take a little time for reflection before I move on to another set of ideas. 

Any advice to young artists?
I have found that a certain amount of tenacity is required to keep focused on what is important for the artist. Keep practicing skills, researching and daydreaming to stimulate the imagination.

What advantage does living in a regional area give an artist? 
Living in a regional area can be an advantage. 
Regional galleries support their local artists, provide them with workshops, residencies and in some instances, collect their work.
Some of these advantages may be available in large cities in commercial galleries but there would be fewer opportunities in my opinion in museum galleries before an artist is established.

Image credit: Sue Bell 10 altered matchbox pieces  2020 (detail), Mixed Media, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist.

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