Deborah Bell is a leading painter, sculptor and printmaker in South Africa. She received her B.A. (Hons) and M.F.A. degrees at the University of the Witwatersrand and has since lectured at various tertiary institutions, including the University of the Witwatersrand and UNISA. She has traveled and worked extensively in North America and Europe. Since 1982, she has had numerous solo and group shows, both locally and abroad.
Bell works in various media including painting, drawing, printmaking, animation and sculpture. She is an artist who collaborates with other artists and printmakers regularly. From 1986 to 1997, Bell collaborated with Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge on various projects, such as the Hogarth in Johannesburg print series and the animation, Memo. Collaborations 1986-1997, which was exhibited at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, celebrated their joint creations spanning one decade.
Bell is a frequent collaborator at the David Krut Print Workshop (DKW), where she has produced a number of prints over the years. She has worked with Jack Shirreff in the UK and Phil Sanders, a master printer from New York. She has also exhibited at David Krut Projects in Johannesburg and is the subject of the artist monograph TAXI-010 from the TAXI Art Book series. Her exhibition, Collaborations opened in 2009 at David Krut Projects, followed by Collaborations II in November 2010. To accompany this exhibition, David Krut Publishing produced Deborah Bell’s Alchemy; a publication dealing with the ten years of Bell’s collaborative printmaking. Bell has since participated in various group shows with David Krut Projects and continues to make work with the DKW (for more on Bell’s latest work with DKW click here).
Bell’s work is fundamentally informed by a personal search for the ‘self’ and she often draws on spiritual imagery from a wide range of sources. The connection to ancient sources and memories is linked to her spiritual beliefs and how she defines herself as an artist in Africa.