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Ron Bell






Ron Bell finds inspiration in the experimental mysteries of the past. One of the most obscure of these forgotten studies found its way into the artist's psyche: In the late 1700's, an Italian scientist named Luigi Galvani severed a leg from a frog and introduced an electrical spark to its exposed muscle tissue. The leg twitched. This led Galvani to propose the existence of something he called "animal electricity", a theory that ultimately led nowhere.

Bell's inanimate sculptures suggest similar archaic experimental apparatus, artifacts from an earlier era whose origin and purpose are a mystery. This exhibition glimpses into the unknown, the undiscovered, and the wrongfully assessed.

These devices are made of a variety of materials: copper, brass, bronze, wood, steel, aluminum, iron, glass and natural bone. Some components are obtained from scientific or industrial surplus companies, while others are salvaged from discarded electric motors, movie projectors and other found objects; most are hand fabricated from raw materials.

Bell has been a cinematographer for over 25 years, a craft that combines art and science in equal measure. Building on this sensibility, he started work in a new medium and began constructing a series of sculptural pieces that also dwell at the crossroads of aesthetics and mechanics. "To me, a Panavision camera is more beautiful than a Faberge egg," he once remarked. This appreciation of the function of form, the drive to discover and the will to reject conventional ideas is manifest in this show. This is Bell's first solo show.