Museum On Tour, 2 May 2018: ‘Trans-Form’ by Trevor Bell
by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer
‘Trans-Form’ by Trevor Bell opened in the Peninsula Arts Gallery recently and is on display until the end of 26 May. It’s the latest exhibition delivered through the partnership between Peninsula Arts and The Box. It was curated and conceived by Joseph Clarke from Anima-Mundi, St Ives.
The idea of showing an exhibition of work by Trevor Bell is something the Museums Galleries Archives team has talked about for years. I remember the first time our Fine Art Curator and Exhibitions Officer proposed it as we discussed how amazing Bell’s large-scale intensely coloured works would look on our walls.
The opportunity to show something at the Museum and Art Gallery before we closed for redevelopment didn’t present itself in the end. As a result, the exhibition on display at Peninsula Arts is the realisation of a long-held ambition.
Born in Leeds in 1930, Trevor Bell moved to St Ives, Cornwall in 1955. His presence, along with a number of other artists who were working there at the time, gave British Art an international reputation. When he held his first solo exhibition in London three years later he was described as ‘the best non-figurative painter’ of his generation.
As an artist, Bell achieved a great deal including fellowships, scholarships and awards. His work has been purchased and commissioned by a number of international museums, public and private collections. These include the British Council, the British Museum and the V&A. He exhibited in prestigious galleries worldwide.
Interestingly for us he also had strong links with the USA. With Plymouth leading the UK’s commemorations for Mayflower 400 in 2020, this is an area we are keen to explore. Bell spent 20 years living and working in America as a Professor at Florida State University.
Sadly, during the development of our exhibition, Bell passed away. He had been closely consulted on the selection of the paintings it includes. It’s an honour for us to have worked on the final exhibition he was personally involved with.
The exhibition is complemented by a new sound score composed by Jamie Mills. Bell had also been looking at how dance could be used alongside his paintings. Our related events programme includes a contemporary dance workshop and performance.
Patrick Heron once said: “As far as I am concerned (Bell’s paintings) are far and away the most original and successful shaped canvas paintings to have been produced anywhere.” Hopefully this exhibition will show that although he may be gone, the vibrancy and energy of his work lives on.
Find out what Curator, Joseph Clarke and Arts and Cultural Development Manager, Judith Robinson have to say about the exhibition.
Find out more about the exhibition here.