Dozier Bell: Monhegan Island

27 February - 4 April 2021

The drawings and paintings of Dozier Bell are at once deep evocations of natural environments culled from memory and experience past, and reflections of a life of philosophical inquiry and keen observation that merge in her work as marvels of virtuosity and poignant imagery. Her work is a visual autobiography of a sort, one that recalls generations of a Maine family that worked the land, and embraced the nearby sea.

 

In 2019, Bell was awarded her first Monhegan Island Residency, and she returned this past September 2020. While on the island, she was inspired to begin working with watercolor, a new medium for her, as well as to continue to create paintings and her intimate, diminutive charcoal drawings. This exhibition focuses on the work created on the island and inspired by her time there. 

 

Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine, has been drawing artists from around the world since the mid-19th century. Notable artists who have been deeply affected by its rugged landscape and unique light include William Trost Williams, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer and three generations of the Wyeth family. 

 

Bell’s paintings and intimate, diminutive charcoal drawings (some of which measure as small as 2 x 4 inches) bring to mind 19th-century American painters Albert Pinkham Ryder, R. A. Blakelock, Frederick Church, as well as England’s John Constable. Exacting and deliberate, often mysterious impressions of nature's disquieting, transitory presence, her works comprise a vision of nature that sweeps across vast plains and valleys, ascends into lofty skies, and reaches toward far distant horizons,… The vision often pictures nature at dawn or dusk, its light generally dimmed and pale or momentarily darkened by clouds, its expanse sometimes broken only by a first or last glimpse of the flashing sun, its temper otherwise solemn, even troubled, as if brooding.  (Carl Belz, Left Bank Art Blog, 2014) 

 

Dozier Bell was born in Lewiston, Maine. She graduated magna cum laude from Smith College in 1981 and received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986.

 

In addition to a Fulbright Fellowship as artist-in-residence at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany, Bell has been awarded grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundations, residencies on Monhegan Island, at the MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, In 2014, she received a Purchase Prize award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.

 

Bell’s work appears in the permanent collections of the Bates, Colby, and Bowdoin College museums; the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, ME; the Denver Art Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT, among others. 

 

She lives and works in Waldoboro, ME