Richard BELL, Big brush stroke Enlarge 1 /1
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art
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On display on Level 1

Richard BELL

Kamilaroi/Kooma/Jiman/Gurang Gurang peoples

Charleville, Queensland born 1953

Big brush stroke 2005 Place made: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Dimensions: overall 240.0 h x 270.0 w cm each 240.0 h x 90.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2007
Accession No: NGA 2007.204.A-C
Image rights: Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery

I am an Aboriginal man … Because I am from the closely settled east coast of Australia I am not allowed to paint what is popularly called ‘Aboriginal art’. Nor can I use the symbols and styles of Aboriginal people from the remote, sparsely settled areas of northern Australia … However, in western art, which appears to be almost entirely and increasingly derivative, no such restrictions apply. Quoting, citing, sampling or appropriating pre-existing works even has its own movement: appropriationism … [1]

Bell works in a postmodern vein where, as he states, his art is open to the reinterpretation of pre-existing images in his constant questioning of the politics of culture and art in the contemporary world. His work is intentionally confrontational, although often laced with irony and a wry sense of humour, and is intended to shake the viewer out of a comfort zone of established, stereotypical perspectives of what defines and constitutes art and culture. Bell takes aim at commonly held misconceptions of Indigenous Australian art and culture in particular. One strand of his work deals directly with damaging effects of unbridled colonialism on Indigenous peoples, both historically and in contemporary times. This strand overlaps another where Bell commandeers popular images from art in the western tradition such as the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock or, as in this case, the pop art images of Roy Lichtenstein, both American artists of the twentieth century. Is Bell suggesting that Indigenous Australian art may suffer from another form of colonialism—cultural subjugation?

Wally Caruana

[1] Richard Bell, quoted in B L Croft (ed), Culture Warriors: National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2007, p 59.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

理查德·贝尔 (Richard BELL)
《大笔触》(Big brush stroke)
总240.0(高) x 270.0(宽) 厘米
各240.0(高) x 90.0(宽) 厘米
收录号:NGA 2007.204.A-C


贝尔的艺术沿袭了后现代主义风格,如他所言,他的艺术不排除对现已存在的形象进行重新解释,不断质疑当今世界的文化与艺术政治。他的作品故意充满对抗,尽管常用反讽和带讽刺的幽默感加以装饰,旨在打破成规,让观赏者跳出定义和构成艺术与文化的既定老套视角的舒适区。贝尔把矛头对准尤其普遍存在的关于土著澳大利亚艺术与文化的误解。作品的一个方向直接应对肆无忌惮的殖民政策对土著人的破坏效果,既有历史的,也有当代的。与此重叠的是另一个方向,贝尔征用西方传统艺术中的流行形象,如杰克逊·波洛克(Jackson Pollock)的滴画,或如本作品所示,罗伊·利希滕斯坦(Roy Lichtenstein)的流行艺术形象,此二人都是二十世纪的美国艺术家。贝尔是不是想说土著澳大利亚艺术可能会遭受另一种形式的殖民主义文化征服呢?

Wally Caruana

[1] 理查德·贝尔,B L克罗夫特(编),《文化斗士:全国土著艺术三周年纪念》,澳大利亚国家美术馆,堪培拉,2007年,第59页。

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra