Katie Bell USA, b. 1985


Katie Bell is a visual artist whose interests intersect the disciplines of painting, sculpture, and site-specific installation.


Bell constructs her artworks out of a mixture of found and fabricated materials. She assembles and arranges the parts in such a way that the finished composition responds to the peculiarities of the space it occupies. Bell has compared the various elements that make up her compositions to letters within an evolving visual alphabet. When configured in conjunction with a specific environment, these elements come together in novel ways to create unique narratives that leave room for interpretation.


Bell’s critically acclaimed oeuvre establishes her as a leading protagonist of contemporary Expanded Painting. Her primary concern is in discovering what happens when painting expands into additional dimensions. The forms, shapes, colors, lines, and textures in her sculptures and installations may be read in correlation with the formal vocabularies of abstract painting. She has likened the spaces and atmospheres that manifest in the work to stage environments, dream spaces, and fantasy landscapes.


“I’m drawn to working with textures, pure form, pure material,” Bell says. “When I find objects and bring them into my work, I’m erasing their previous history, but in another way their history can never be erased. There are always signifiers of where an object came from. I’m combining those worlds to create a space of theatricality, where the materials and forms are somewhere between props and performers.”


Bell graduated cum laude from Knox College, Galesburg, IL, in 2008, and earned her MFA with honors from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. She is a recipient of the Brooklyn Arts Council Grant; the Saint-Gaudens Fellowship; and a Painting Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, among others. Her work has been reviewed extensively, including in ArtforumHyperallergicArtnet NewsArt in AmericaArtsyChicago TribuneTwo Coats of Paint, and Vulture, and has been exhibited extensively in institutions around the world, including Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY; Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD; Art Prize, Grand Rapids, MI; Rushgrove House in conjunction with the Royal College of Art, London, UK; deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL; and the Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL.