Reveal is based on the painting Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, created in 1656. A couple of years ago William Kentridge suggested that she revisit this theme – explored in her We Will Never Know What We Are, which hangs in her guest bathroom and dates back to the early 1990s.
Bell made a series of sketches in her notebooks – her primary source material for her etchings – from her visit to the Museu Picasso in Barcelona which houses a series of 58 paintings done by Pablo Picasso in 1957, reinterpreting and recreating Las Meninas. The image of the young Spanish Infanta, Margaret Theresa, a symbol of youth and innocence for Bell, appears in several of her prints and paintings.
It was while sketching from Picasso’s paintings in Barcelona that the image of the cloaked figure in the doorway emerged, symbolising another sense of self, a future sense of self, beckoning (similar to the angel in Annunciation). This cloaked figure at some point transformed into the winged angel seen in the work. For Bell it is ambiguous as to whether the two figures in the foreground are aware of the angel. Bell also points out the moment of mutual recognition that is passing between the two figures in the seconds after the tray is dropped.