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Larry S. Bell

born 1939 Chicago, Illinois; lives Taos, New Mexico and Venice, California

The satisfaction I get [from making art] is by keeping an image growing. In a sense, one could say that all the mirage paintings are one continuous image. There's a lot of good feeling in keeping the mechanism flowing. The materials I use I think of as being charged with a very special kind of energy that allows that continuum.

Larry Bell

Born in Chicago, Larry Bell received his formal education in Los Angeles at the Chouinard Institute of Art where he was mentored by painter and conceptual artist Robert Irwin. In 1973, while assisting a friend relocate to Taos, Bell himself decided to move to northern New Mexico where he still maintains his residence and studio. He has since achieved international claim for his work in various mediums and innovative techniques to convey light and space as content. Bell's work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe, including England, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, and Russia, as well as in Mexico and Venezuela.

Mirage painting is a term imposed by Bell to convey the many processes involved in the execution of the piece. Papers of various colors, Mylar, aluminum foil, and transparent laminating films are coated with thin films of metals and non-metallic materials, such as quartz, in an industrial process called "vacuum plating." The artist then combines these various vacuum-plated pieces into a composition that results in a dimensional collaged effect which is then laminated in a heat press and adhered to a support surface such as a canvas. Based on Bell's exclusive technique, his paintings transmit and reflect light resulting in their dynamic surface quality. In addition, the illusion of real space, compressed space, and lack of space are simultaneously conveyed to the viewer. According to the artist, "The viewer's perspective to the surface produces changes in the way the trapped light is perceived, the color shifting through the spectrum when seen from different angles. There is no predetermined orientation to [my mirage paintings], and different lighting conditions will cause different spatial relationships."