Energy is a difficult element to pin down. But you know it when you see it. And you feel it right away when you see Ulrica Bell’s collage work.
The energy jumps right out at you.
Bold colors and innovative patterns highlight Bell’s collages, which are being showcased in a new show at Sagebrush Café in Quartz Hill this summer. “Women and Nature” is a collection of new work that promises a fusion not only of mixed media components but also of ideas.
As an artist, Ulrica Bell seems to call on a variety of influences in her work as she knits together a body of ideas, sometimes taking chances, often asserting a palpable confidence, which may be borne from years of teaching. Bell went to college on the east coast, at Bryn Mawr, and built a career in the classroom.
Today, in person, she cuts a striking figure with a balance of deep sympathy and no-nonsense honesty. She clearly sees past the first layer of things – and people – and her artwork invites us to do the same.
If we are going to dance, then let’s dance. If we’re going to speak, then let’s say what must be said. Take the straight path, she seems to say, and we will be where we are going.
What form will this message take in “Women and Nature”?
As an aside: These observations are based on conversations, on encounters with Bell’s work in person and online, and on her social media persona. In sharing a few thoughts there is much left to tell – and to figure out. The art of Ulrica Bell is something to conjure with, to quote a phrase. Something to see for yourself.
Bell is an active and award-winning Antelope Valley artist. At MOAH’s Cedarfest, Bell won a prize for her mixed media work. But she also shows paintings and plans to bring original poetry into “Women and Nature.” These things point to a certain diversity of character that makes Bell difficult to summarize (if one were to try).
This little speech is not a summary. It’s more of an invitation.
“Women and Nature” will be showing from late June at Sagebrush Café.