David Winton Bell Gallery

Past Exhibitions

April 3, 2013 - May 26, 2013

The Ashes Series marks a shift of the platform of Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal. Known for provocative, performative, and innovative artwork often using technology and new media, Bilal has cultivated an aesthetic of conflict, tension, and direct confrontation with the social, political, and ethical dynamics of the modern world. In contrast, the photographs in The Ashes Series are still - almost serene. The series consists of ten photographs of models constructed by the artist based on mass-syndicated images of the destruction of Iraq in the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In all the photographs, he has removed the human figures that were present in the original images, replacing them with 21 grams of human ashes distributed throughout the ten models. Referencing the mythical weight of the human soul, these 21 grams insert a human aura into the photographs, troubling the serenity of the scenes - the afterimage of conflict. The proverbial dust, captured suspended in mid-air by the camera, will never settle.

Curated by Ian Alden Russell
Image: Wafaa Bilal, Chair, 2003-2012

Location Gallery
April 3, 2013 - May 26, 2013

Beginning in 2006, Daniel Heyman traveled to Jordan and Turkey with American lawyers to meet with former detainees of Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. As he listened to their testimony, Heyman drew their portraits surrounded by his transcription of their words. Later, he recorded the testimony of Iraqi victims and survivors of the Blackwater/Nisour Square shootings of September 2007. Heyman’s painted portraits function equally well as powerful documentary statements and within the tradition of artists’ responses to war (from Callot, Goya, Kollwitz, and Picasso, to others).

The exhibition also includes Heyman's personal response to the war in Iraq: a monumental etching on plywood entitled When Photographers are Blinded, Eagles' Wings are Clipped (2010). The work unites a number of expressionistic and symbolic elements which coalesce into a warning about censorship and the potential decline of American democracy. 

Curated by Jo-Ann Conklin
image: Daniel Heyman, From the Time of Morning Prayers, 2008

Location LOBBY
March 2, 2013 - March 17, 2013

The David Winton Bell Gallery and the Department of Visual Art present the work of thirty-two talented student artists in Brown’s 33rd annual Student Exhibition. The juried exhibition is open to all Brown students. The jurors for this year's exhibition are Robert P. Stack and Vanphouthon Souvannasane of Yellow Peril Gallery. 

image: Anna Muselmann, Yellow Finch, 2012

Location Gallery and Lobby
November 17, 2012 - February 17, 2013

Simen Johan has crafted a series of uncanny photographs of animals that delight and perplex. Striving to “confuse the boundaries between opposing forces, such as the familiar and the otherworldly, the natural and the artificial, the amusing and the eerie,” Johan mixes sweet images appropriate for children’s literature with dark and mysterious scenes that might illustrate our primordial beginnings or apocalyptic ends. Smiling owls and weeping foxes mimic human emotions. Flamingos perform ballet. Reindeer lay frozen in ice, and moose battle each other amidst a flock of parakeets. 

Curated by Jo-Ann Conklin
image:  Simen Johan, Untitled, 2006

Location Gallery
October 13, 2012 - November 11, 2012

Linda and Louis Tanner '55 met at an opening at the Museum of Modern Art in the fall of 1966. Within a few months, they were married. Wedding gifts from artist-friends, including Claes Oldenberg, began what became a central passion of their life together: collecting art. The works exhibited here are a highlight from this gift and reflect the breadth and depth of the Tanner Collection. Grounded in modernist art from the 1970s onward, the collection includes important works by major figures such as Frank Stella and Robert Rauschenberg; surprising detours, such as a Beverly Pepper “rust print;” powerful works by lesser-known modernists, such as Bram Bogart; and works by a younger generation of artists, represented here in paintings by David Ryan and Shirley Kaneda. This gift broadens the Bell Gallery collection through the addition of works by Italian Arte Povera artists Michelangelo Pistoletto and Lucio Fontana, and other artists not formerly represented. It also adds depth. For example, a powerful three-dimensional print from Frank Stella’s Moby-Dick Dome series (1992) complements our collection of 68 early paintings, sculptures, and prints by Stella (dating from 1958 to 1975).

Location LOBBY
September 8, 2012 - October 7, 2012

Don’t Get Out Much includes a series of large-scale photographic collages and a 490 sq. ft. mural that covers the entire surface of the windows in the List Art Center entrance.  The work of assistant professor Theresa Ganz, the series continues the artist’s exploration of nature.  Having grown up in New York City, Ganz points out that her interest in nature is more aesthetic than actual, derived from the study of German Romantic painting and literature. The collages in the exhibition combine photographs of glacial rocks and tidal pools with loose washes of watercolor that softening the hard edges of the real. The window mural extends the watercolor onto the windows, thereby washing the gallery with soft colors and uniting the viewer and the work within a shared environment.

curated by Jo-Ann Conklin
image: Theresa Ganz, Tidal Pool III, 2012

Location List Art Center Lobby
September 1, 2012 - November 4, 2012

A new installation by Jin Shan 靳山

A leading voice in an emerging generation of socially engaged contemporary artists in China, Shanghai-based Jin Shan is an agent provocateur. Preferring wit and satire to aggression and conflict, his work uses humor and play to draw audiences into a confrontation with the social, cultural and political problems of the modern world. In this special project for the Bell Gallery, Jin Shan responds to power dynamics in contemporary China, invoking the social meme "My dad is Li Gang!" — a short-hand satirical critique of the corrupt financial and political elite of China who believe they can avoid responsibility for harm they have inflicted on others. My dad is Li Gang! is a declaration of Jin Shan's cultural position and social obligation as an artist to engage political issues and make them visible. His most ambitious project to date, My dad is Li Gang! will see Jin Shan realize a single, large-scale installation in the main gallery of the David Winton Bell Gallery. This will be Jin Shan's second solo exhibition in the United States and occurs in conjunction with his first New York gallery solo show at Masters & Pelavin.

Curated by Ian Alden Russell
image: Jin ShanMy dad is Li Gang! 我爸是李刚! [detail], 2012 (Photo: Zhong Han 钟晗)

Location Gallery
June 9, 2012 - July 8, 2012

Recent works by Hannah Barrett, Caleb Cole, Jane Maxwell, Randy Regier, Kent Regowski, and TRIIIBE

Life is a play with many roles. Whether from teddy bears, toys, or fashion icons, parents, siblings, or complete strangers, we seek out models for how to be human. This exhibition features recent work by New England artists skilled in playful mimicry, inversion, and assemblage. Representing photography, collage, sculpture, and painting, the works shown here share a sense of "serious play" with the modes, methods, materials, and processes of forming, inheriting, and expressing personal and social identities. They offer a reminder to children of all ages that identity is not fixed or inherited but made and maintained, and despite the differences and, at times, discord of our many senses of self, we share something in common in the way we enjoy the creative possibilities of becoming human.

Curated by Ian Alden Russell
image: Caleb Cole, The Pink Kitchen, 2008

Location Gallery and Lobby
March 31, 2012 - May 27, 2012

A Natural Order focuses on a network of people who have left cities and suburbs to live off the grid in the southeastern United States. Over a four-year period beginning in the summer of 2006, Lucas Foglia met, stayed with, photographed, and recorded copious conversations with people at “rewilding” communities such as Wildroots Earthskills Homestead, at Christian communities such as Russell Creek Community, and with smaller independent groups. His subjects have embraced a self-sufficient lifestyle for varied reasons: religious, environmental or political; liberal or libertarian. They all strive for self-sufficiency and sustainability, but none are totally isolated from the outside. As Foglia tells us, “Many have websites that they update using laptop computers and cell phones that they charge on car batteries or solar panels.”

Curated by Jo-Ann Conklin
image: Acorn with Possum Stew, Wildroots Homestead, North Carolina, 2006

Location Gallery and Lobby
March 3, 2012 - March 18, 2012

The David Winton Bell Gallery and the Department of Visual Art present the work of talented Brown artists in the 32nd annual Student Exhibition. The exhibition is open to all Brown University students. Jurors for this year's exhibition are Ellen Driscoll, Head of Sculpture, Rhode Island School of Design; and Deborah Bright, Acting Dean of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design.

image: Anne Muselmann, File Cabinet, 2011

Location Gallery
January 25, 2012 - February 21, 2012

Optical Noise is the latest in a long and distinguished series of exhibitions prepared by first- and second-year graduate students in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture. The works featured in Optical Noise are drawn almost entirely from the collections of the David Winton Bell Gallery. The collection is particularly strong in works on paper, including British and American examples made as part of the print revival of the 1960s and 1970s. A selection of these prints and two related films, which have been lent to this exhibition, are the subject of Optical Noise.

Curated by Monica Bravo, Alexandra K. Collins, Sara Hayat, Amy S. Huang, Sarah Rovang, and Rebecca A. Szantyr, with Professors Herve Vanel and Catherine Zerner
image: Mel Ramos, Tobacco Rose, 1965

Location Lobby
November 19, 2011 - February 19, 2012

Featuring the work of Meridith Pingree, Jasper Rigole, Jonathan Schipper, Gregory Witt, and Zimoun, this exhibition explores the intersection between nostalgia and technology in contemporary sculpture. The five artists incorporate very simple machinery to create works that evoke different aspects of nostalgia. Rather than specific lost moments of time, they capture more abstract, visceral registers of this sentiment, whether in the form of a sense memory (of rain, or of skin crawling), a personal history (moments of key decisions), or an aesthetic associated with memory (such as the historical documentary).

Curated by Maya Allison
image: Gregory Witt, Packing Tape, 2010

Location Gallery