Orem painter Josie Bell says she continues to be surprised by how much her early childhood in Brazil continues to affect her work. “I didn’t know those imprints would reawaken someday and bring me to subjects that relate to nature and ecological themes,” she says. She speaks of the compelling mix in her native country — from the relationship of primitive rhythms to European sophistication, from the dark mystical roots of Amazonia conjoining with the spirit of intellectual exploration and nostalgia.
Bell has been the recipient of several awards, including one from the Utah Arts Council, and her work is included in private and public collections. She holds a BFA from Utah Valley University and a Bachelor of Education Administration from the Faculdade de Filosofia Ciencias e Letras de Maceio (Maceio, AL, Brazil).
Bell quotes Herman Hesse when talking about her approach to work: “Every experience has its element of magic.”
“I approach a new work without preconceived ideas, choosing instead to let the spirit of the artwork guide me, building up layers of oil, sand, marble dust, sawdust and stone on canvas,” Bell says. “It is only later that the subjects of the work present themselves and hidden symbols are revealed.”
In her studio she’s working on a new series of works full of rich blues and deep blacks flecked with earth tones. “I feel lucky that lately I have been working on a new series of 10 pieces. And besides the hard work in the process with the canvas and materials it is also fascinating to have a dialogue — a meditation with the work …. I am not sure yet when this series is going to be ready … but I hope that I can show them somewhere. … Let’s also hope that this year things will soon be back to normal — always with peace love & health around the world.”
Every January we check in with Utah artists to see what the new year holds in store for them.