Ange Bell

 

Ange’ (1973) work focuses on the themes of origins and belonging, and it is this concern that has formed the basis of her practice. Whether collecting and working from found photographs or, as in recent months, working from selfies taken by Instagram users.

Through the act of painting, she reclaims and invigorates, with added permanence and significance, a moment lost in the instant it occurred. Within the portraits there is an echo of that which is lost and sought, it speaks at times to our sense of nostalgia, and at others to our desire to be seen, recognized and valued. The act of retrieving and reviving is at the core of her practice, from the sourcing of material to the process of painting itself.

Ange creates detailed studies in oil, and through a process of working back into the surface and exploring mark making techniques, she distorts, eliminates and manipulates the image to create a visual language. She aims to create a portrait that not only captures a likeness but also has a vibrancy and depth to it as well as the desire to create a painting with which the viewer can establish a point of communication. Ange does not look to dictate a specific meaning through the narrative presented but rather to prompt dialogue between the subject and the viewer.

Her work is in private collections worldwide and has been selected for numerous exhibitions including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Ulster Academy and she was short listed for the Artists and Illustrators Artist of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. Ange has won the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Small Painting Prize, Jacksons Painting Prize Portrait category, Jacksons Painting Prize Third Place and The Dry Red Press Award.

5. Questions to Ange:

1. Were you born in England? If not where?
I was born and raised in County Antrim Northern Ireland. I was lucky in that I lived in a small village with access to the countryside, the coast and the main city of Belfast. I guess that’s the bonus of living on a small island, everything is close! I currently live in Suffolk, England.
2. Do you have a pet and if yes what is it?
Teddy (bear) is our chocolate Labrador. A most loving and playful rascal but a terrible studio companion as he likes to lick EVERYTHING! 
3. Name a piece of art you own that has a special place in your heart and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to build a small collection of work by a range of talented artists over the years. One of my absolute favourites is by @andrewmcintosh_mackie I’m in awe of Andrews technical skills and I have spent a great deal of time examining his brushwork - it serves as a reminder to up my game! I have two from a series in which he was developing an idea of imaginary found works from 1800 predicting a future power source - playful and intriguing! It’s a real treat to own something that has been created using skills developed over many years, something that an artist has brought into existence. 

4. How many hours do you spend each week on creating art?
As a full time artist I work 5 days a week. I am very disciplined with my time and work solidly between school drop off and school pick up. Having time constraints is a great motivator, it really focuses your energy! I usually plan, prep and research outside of this studio time so that when I sit down to paint that’s all I’m occupied with. In May I will be doing a charity hike for @macmillancancer so I’m currently in training and taking time out of my working day. I’ve found it really energising and beneficial especially during the dreary winter months. 
5. Did you always want to be an artist?
Yes!!! I didn’t think I would manage to make a career of it though and at no point during my education was it presented as viable option. After my Masters in Fine Art I worked a variety of jobs and was a youth support worker for many years. Once my son started school I worked part time and started building up my practice. The greatest gift my wife has given me has been the time to work, the most important resource every artist needs is a cheerleader! It has taken many years to develop my career and I feel so fortunate that I get to paint for a living. 

EDUCATION 

1999 Masters (Fine Art) - Norwich School of Art & Design   

1997 BA Hons Fine Art (2.1) - University of Ulster                                                

1994 Foundation Studies in Art - University of Ulster            

EXHIBITIONS 

2022

Space Gallery Denmark- New Beginnings 

Royal Ulster Academy - Annual Exhibition 

Well Hung Gallery - The Modest Magnificent 

Boyle Arts Festiva - Boyle Arts Festival 

Federation of British Artists - Award Winners Show 

The Old School Gallery - False Starts Group Show 

Mall Galleries - Royal Institute of Oil Painters 

The Department Store Brixton - Contemporary British Portrait Painters Group show 

2021

Mall Galleries - The Royal Institute of Oil Painters 

Well Hung Gallery         - Small Wonders Group Show 

Online - Society of Women Artists 

Mall Galleries - Figurative Art Prize 

Online - Jacksons Painting Prize 

Old Fire Station - Contemporary British Portrait Painters Group Show 

2020

Mall Galleries - Royal Institute of Oil Painters 

Online - ING Discerning Eye 

Cass Art - Contemporary British Portrait Painters Perceptions 

2019

Moniker Art Fair - Dynamite Gallery 

Paxton Glew - Urban Miniatures Group Show 

Affordable Art Fair        - Well Hung Gallery Hampstead Heath 

The Ned - By Ace Club Group Show 

Dynamite Gallery - Group Show 

Waluso Gallery - Semi Skimmed Gallery Group Show 

Union London - By Ace Club Group Show 

Online - Jacksons Painting Prize 

Dynamite Gallery - Group Show 

Dirty Old Gallery - Group Show 

RHA Dublin - RHA Annual Exhibition 

2018

Royal Ulster Academy - Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition 

Mall Galleries - Society of Women Artists 

Hang Tough Dublin - Group Show 

Semi Skimmed - Group Show 

Royal Hibernian Dublin - RHA Annual Exhibition 

Worthing - Worthing Artists Open House 

Affordable Art Fair - Jacksons AAF Hampstead Heath 

Jacksons Art Supplies - Jacksons Open Painting Prize 

Mall Galleries - Royal Society of British Artists 

2017

Well Hung - Semblance 

Royal Academy London - Summer Exhibition 

Affordable Art Fair        - Jamm Gallery AAF Battersea 

Mall Galleries - Society or Women Artists 

Jacksons Art Supplies - Jacksons Open Art Prize 

Super Natural - Aureus Contemporary New York 

APT Gallery - Creekside Open Selected by Jordan Baseman 

Mall Galleries - Artists and Illustrators Artists of the Year 2016 

2016

Mercers Hall - National Open Art Competition 

Royal Ulster Academy - Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition
 

Open House - Worthing Artists Open House 

iO Gallery - Group Exhibition 

Mall Galleries - Society of Women Artists 

Jacksons Art Supplies - Open 2016 

Mall Galleries - Royal Society of Portrait Painters 

Mall Galleries - Royal Society of British Artists 

Mall Galleries - Artists and Illustrators Artists of the Year 2015 

2015

West Sussex Art Society - Arundel Museum 

Royal College of Art London - National Open Art Competition 

Royal Ulster Academy - Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition 

Mall Galleries - Society of Women Artists 

Mall Galleries - New English Arts Club 

2014

Mall Galleries - New English Arts Club 

Royal Ulster Academy - Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition 

Somerset House/ Chichester - National Open Art Competition 

Mall Galleries - Threadneedle Prize 

2013

Royal Ulster Academy - Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition 

Mall Galleries - Threadneedle Prize 

COLLECTIONS / AWARDS 

 2021 Royal Institute of Oil Painters Prize Winner  

2020 Jacksons Painting Prize – Prize Winner Portrait/Figurative  

2017 Jacksons Open Art prize Third Prize  

2016 Artists and Illustrators Artists of the Year  

2014 The Dry Red Press Award  

 

 

 

         

 

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