Born in Sri Lanka, raised in London, living in New York City, the places Berenice Bell has lived have come to define her, and her work. “I was born in Sri Lanka, but I don’t know anything about the culture. I grew up in London, but I’m not actually British. I feel like I have a double identity, and I’m trying to figure out who I am.” Working mainly on canvas and through collages, Bell takes the realistic and twists it beyond realism to create unforgettable portraiture. The resulting images blend the skill of a world-class painter with the talent of a first-rate photographer to create work that is unmistakable.
In fact, most of Bell’s work stems from her photographs—a painting, for instance, starts with a barrage of snapshots. After she’s developed the film, she’ll then attempt to pull the image from the film to the canvas. “At some point, the painting starts to change. I’m not looking at the photo anymore, I’m just painting. I carry on with the painting and when I’ve looked again, the painting has become something different.” The same process applies for her work with collages: take the photos, plan the image, work it into reality. “I try not to think too much about my work, otherwise I’ll overthink.”
Bell, who recently graduated from New York Academy of Art, draws inspiration from artists like John Stezaker, Cindy Sherman, David Hockney, Lucian Freud, and Vivian Maier. She currently resides in Manhattan and is seeking a gallery to display her work.
Contact Ernest Montgomery at email@example.com or 212-643-6692 for more information.