Collection: Peggy Bell

Peggy Bell, Artist

Peggy Bell, AOCA, BEd. Is an abstract painter from Toronto, now living on the stolen lands of the Lək̓ʷəŋən, Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, or what is currently known as Victoria, BC. Peggy studied painting and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art, graduating in 1982. A student of colour, she had the opportunity to develop this strength with Francois Thepot. Peggy was awarded the Nora E Vaughan Scholarship for Excellence in Painting in 1980 at the college.

For eighteen years Peggy taught elementary and high school art in Toronto. Teaching strong design principles to students had an impact in her developing creative work. Upon retirement in 2016 she immersed herself in landscape painting. Since 2019 her practice as a landscape painter has shifted from a practice of traditional settler representation into the visual language of abstraction. The turn to abstraction speaks to her evolving consideration of boundaries, borders and forms related to the cellular foundations of being. Current influences are Otis Jones, Gerhard Richter and Lynda Bengalis.

Peggy now works daily in her studio as a member of Rockslide in Victoria. Her most recent pieces strive to use more sustainable materials in her practice. Simultaneously she is striving to consider paintings as art objects, incorporating some three dimensional elements.

Artist Statement

Peggy explores abstraction using acrylics. What is seen and felt about her environment, has a hand in determining her choices. She lives in a city, in a troubled world, not far from stunning, but threatened, nature; and, the work evokes these accordingly.

Often Peggy will execute more than one piece at a time, utilizing similar but varied colours. Limiting tools and materials allows her to dig deeper into the possibilities that present themselves. The capabilities of the medium influence her responses. Painting is a meditative and purposeful act of meaning-making. The process involves a continuous series of choices that speak to previous decisions. The resulting art objects are, although influenced by many who came before her, uniquely her own.

The pieces on view at Merrick Gallery are from a series called, “ParCells”. Par - refers to the equality of Peggy’s process in the creation of each object. Cell - refers to the illusion of the roundish casement or parcel. One could think of a visual package that She is bringing forward to a future world. Or not. They really are just abstractions.