international painting annual 6 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Audrey Bell
Penland, North Carolina

detail image


The box of travel tchotchkes I found in my grandfather's basement after he died sparked a sense of discovery and wonder in me, like artifacts from an ancient tomb or a tool lit up under glass at the Museum of Natural History. The objects we create and choose to surround ourselves with are important; they are access points into a life. These props give history texture in our imaginations, populating the vague idea of a time, place, or culture with tangible and specific activities. The most banal object can be inextricably intwined with a cherished memory. I make portraits that arouse a material sensitivity, display cases that stimulate the memory of touch and action, the desire to deeply picture an experience separate from one's own.

My process evolved from my fascination with the history of human image- and object-making, and how we are able to envision the past through the objects left behind, be it†stone tools, early decorative arts, or a discarded polaroid. My paintings are an attempt to document a time, a place, a person, to capture their character, emotions, and sensibilities. While painting is at the center of all of my work, each additional material is altered and combined in ways that reference the techniques humans have used historically, be it traditional wood joinery, sewing, or soldering. In a culture overloaded with imagery and consumerism, I am drawn to historical ways of making because they evoke a time when images and objects were rare and precious. My portraits are explorations in narrative as well as experiments in the language of materials - beautiful objects that tell time.





born: 1988, Colorado Springs, CO



Williams College, BA, 2010


selected awards/honors

Core Fellowship, Penland School of Crafts, 2013 - 2015
Frederick M. Peyser Prize in Painting, Williams College, 2010


selected solo or two-person exhibits

The Carrack Modern Art: Believed Behavior, Durham, NC 2016


selected group shows

Greater Denton Arts Council: Materials: Hard and Soft, Denton, TX 2015
Nave Gallery Annex: This into That: Found Object Art, Assemblage, and Other Transformed Work, Somerville, MA, 2015
Penland School of Crafts: Eighteen Hands, Penland, NC 2013



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