John Bell exhibits figurative abstract art at Kortman Gallery

“They Move,” by John Bell.

Staff Report

Rockford native and artist John Bell returns home Friday, June 8, to present his latest body of abstract, yet figurative, work at the Kortman Gallery. The exhibition, titled “always hungry,” features paintings and small sculpture that are motion-filled images that take on a life of their own through muted colors and textured forms and shapes.

I want my pictures to operate in the realm of potential — in imagining and bringing to life the near-limitless variety of form that life can take on to make itself unique and still survive,” Bell said.

Even though Bell’s work at first glance looks abstract, as you look deeper into his art, you can see, through imagination, movement and figurative images. As Bell writes in his artist’s statement, “I think of myself as a figurative artist who strives to depict animals as verbs rather than as nouns.”

Bell is a graduate of Rockford Boylan Catholic High School with a bachelor’s of arts from Grinnell College and a master’s of fine arts from the Minneapolis School of Art and Design.

“When Tolerance,” by John Bell.

John comes from a very artistic and creative family,” said Doc Slafkosky, Kortman Gallery director. “His twin sister, Katie, has a piece in Rockford Art Museum’s current Midwestern juried art exhibit; his mother, Sarah, is a former art teacher and artist in her own right, and father Kurt is one of the area’s leading craftsmen in historic preservation.”

The opening reception for the “always hungry” exhibition by John Bell will be from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, June 8; the art will be on display through July 21. This event is free and open to the public. The gallery is upstairs at J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St. For more information, call (815) 968-0123 or visit

From the June 6-12, 2012, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!