Black and White Abstraction
 Item 5 of 6 

Trevor Bell


Black and White Abstraction

Trevor Bell was born in Leeds and studied at the College of Art from 1947-1952. He worked as a teacher at Harrogate College of Art, before moving to Cornwall in 1955 upon the advice of his contemporary, Terry Frost RA. He became a leading member of the younger generation of St Ives artists, exhibiting with the Penwith Society of Arts from 1956. A series of solo exhibitions at Waddington Galleries followed from 1958 onwards.


In 1959 he won one of six main painting prizes at the first Paris International Biennale of Young Artists, and was awarded an Italian government sponsorship (1958-1959) before taking up the Gregory Fellowship at Leeds University in 1960. Bell returned to teaching following an invitation to become Professor of Graduate Painting at Florida State University in the 1970s, whilst continuing to exhibit in the States and in Europe, including a major solo show at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London in 1973. He lived in the United States for over twenty years, but moving full-circle he returned to settle and paint in Cornwall during the 1990s.


In 1995 he exhibited at the Tate Gallery St. Ives and was included in the John Moores Exhibition, Liverpool. His first large one-man show since returning to Britain followed in 1998 at The New Millennium Art Gallery, St. Ives.


Public collections include:


Arts Council of England, London

British Museum, London

Getty Research Institute, California

Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona

Tate Gallery, London

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Oil on canvas61 x 51 cm (24 x 20 ins)

signed, dated 1958 and inscribed verso



Gallery Notes:

As the name Black & White Abstraction suggests, Bell was well informed of the Abstract Expressionist activities across the Atlantic. Using Franz Klien's monochrome palate, Bell motions his brush across the rough-hewn canvas simulating the crest-of-a-wave. Sparing in his use of oil Bell drags his unloaded brush, and leaves a good portion of the stretched support naked.

Painted three years after Bell's arrival in St Ives, this abstract composition retains something of the vitality of the sea. Reminiscent of Turner's scumbles, Bell's painterly abstraction marks him out as a landscape painter. He became an important contributor to the second generation of the St Ives School alongside peers Brian Wall and Keith Leonard, with the support of more established artists Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and Peter Lanyon.