Andrew Bell’s Heroic Aeronaut

Bell_Variant-(station-1)Andrew Bell’s 3D works in his ongoing, dystopian Moterwerks series are a captivating combo of mechanics, sculpture and mixed media. The Variant Series at the Ingram Gallery in Toronto focuses on Bell’s female aeronaut and characters in sculptural forms. (Above: Variant – station 1 (2011) 13.5 x 22.5 x 3 mixed media)

Variant Series + Krate - Andrew Bell - Ingram Gallery

-Left: Variant 2 – (2011) 21 x 8 x 11 mixed media; Right: Variant 5 – (2011) 27 x 6.5 x 17 mixed media

Since the mid 90s, the Ottawa artist has been telling the tale of an aeronaut, a reluctant heroine engulfed in the struggle of a dystopian future world, via photo-based, mixed-media applications and now sculpture.


-Left: Variant – station 2 (2011) 23 x 12 x 4.75 mixed media; Right: Icon Variant (2011) 23 x 4 x 4 mixed media

Andrew Bell’s photo-based mixed-media pieces, including Idoru Zero II, depict a protagonist dubbed “The Aeronaut” as she navigates a Mad Max-meets- Metropolis world fractured by humankind’s lust for power and control. Melding pseudo-historical and science fiction elements with visual techniques employed by the modern mass media, the Soviet-style images remind us that the machines of corporate and political repression remain subtly pervasive to this day.  –Where, Toronto review.

A close-up of the heroine, Idoru Zero II

The scope of Bell’s work through the series is stunning. Take a closer look via the gallery’s Andrew Bell link.

-Unionist Billboard photo-transfer on plaster 22 x 48 (2002)

-Top to bottom: Bell, Cosmos, Derelict (2010)
“Bell’s photo-based work is transferred on to plaster and concrete, then built up with tar and oil paint, creating Communist style, billboard-like images.  Often, Bell employs text written in Turkish, Mandarin or Czech (see below), leaving the text untranslated, although he knows the meaning of the words himself.  He tells us that the messages are all positive, despite the somewhat menacing effect.” Ingram Gallery
-Squadron, 2005
-Left: Last Stand of the American Knight; Right: Savior Reborn, both from 2007


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