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‘A Nativity for a New Year’ and other paintings by Jennifer Bell
February 2 - February 28
This exhibition will be on disply in the North Transept at Southwell Minster.
Jennifer Bell writes…
I am a fine artist by training (a degree in sculpture) and a freelance mural painter by profession, via advertising and book illustration; I enjoy the commercial challenge of combining imaginative painting with interior design – and making clients happy. I have won two prestigious interior design competitions, and have worked in some beautiful houses, hotels and churches as well as Heritage Visitor Centres around the world.
I also have a passion for equestrian art… having been pony mad as a child and never really grown out of it. I have tutored live-horse painting workshops, and written three books on how to draw horses.
But there’s another side… the bit of me that wants to explore the crossover between the real world and the spiritual, and delights in thinking in metaphor; preferring to imagine situations and narratives (particularly Scripture) in pictures.
I came to faith quite dramatically over the summer of 1989, and going to the first New Wine summer conference had quite a lot to do with the direction my faith (and art!) took. Painting a 5ft x 40ft long series of Advent panels that autumn – as an over-the-top new Christian – at my local church not only taught me a lot about theology, and the amazing potential of art in the church, but gave me the confidence to start offering murals commercially. The panels are still going up every Advent, nearly 30 years later!
I believe that we are all visionary – that God can speak to us powerfully through our visual imagination as well as through spoken truths. In fact, visualising spiritual concepts can be more compelling to a world that thrives on the visual; conveying emotion, posing questions, introducing tricky themes with metaphor… allowing personal discovery and revelation without being formulaic or clichéd.
I like to paint fairly realistically and I appreciate beautiful things – I don’t set out to be an artistic ground breaker or ‘edgy’. What I do is tell a story (or a bit of one) in each painting, introduce the viewer to it, and invite them to continue the thought for themselves.