Leslie Bell

Gallery Affiliations: Moberg Gallery

Region: Midwest

City / State: Davenport, IA

It’s been said, “A husband is a man with his nerve extracted.” Odd, and in my case inaccurate. Not only for me, but for my characters as well. Girls and women—the “heroes” of my paintings—retain and contain style, opinion, sex, power, and nerve. The images represent ways in which complex stories can be suggested through the quality of light, physical gesture, color, accurate versus ambiguous description, and allusion to the history of the studio process.

The female protagonists of my paintings go about their business—maturing, learning, sharing, philosophizing, goofing up and being awkward—without the off-putting presence of male energy. Minus testosterone, this reapportioned world is free of war, undue competition, blood sport, muscle cars, and other forms of manly garbage and disruption. My intention is to create a gender-neutral vantage point (insofar as a male can) akin to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s unobtrusive form of appreciation. My characters rarely react to an outside viewer but act in response to their own thoughts and goals and, as often as not, to nature, the great humbling agent.