Jeremy G. Bell is a Seattle-based painter best known for his complexly layered portraits of contemporary Black subjects. Using charcoal, acrylic, oil paint, spray paint, ink, wax and more, Bell's works seek to challenge and reclaim the narrative of what it means to be a Black American.
Bell is particularly drawn to portraiture for its power to express the human experience, and the connection and understanding that we can find within it. There is a strong sense of emotion in Bell’s unique blend of realism and abstraction. Bell describes his work as “alluding to more than what it on the visible surface”. This idea reveals itself through Bell’s precise rendering of his subjects, as they emerge from abstracted backgrounds rich with symbolism, creating depth and atmosphere in an effort to capture the essence of what makes us human.
“Abstraction provides this random element, which always keeps things new and fresh for me,” says Bell. “I’m always interested in the way the paint falls on the canvas, the type of conversation that goes back and forth between me and the work. My work is in response to my environment, while also aiming to acknowledge, highlight and counter current perceptions.”
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Bell served in United States Air Force before he went on to receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of Tampa, and his Master of Fine Arts from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Bell’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, and is held in private and public collections, including the City of Seattle and Nelson Mandela Elementary in Omaha, NE. He recently presented the solo exhibition, “Utopian Blackness,” at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in 2019.