Jesse M. Bell was born in Marshall, Michigan and received his BA in Visual Arts from Olivet College. Since that time, Bell has been creating work that strives to condense his visual language into two-dimensional imagery. Focusing primarily on the abstraction and interaction of organic shapes in various painting mediums, he employs symbols and detached iconography to create what he refers to as “visual poems”. Bell has shown in numerous group and solo shows throughout the Upper Midwest and currently works and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Inspiration for his work comes from many unassuming places - an errant line, a whirl of handwriting, the prickly thatch of cross-hatched marks, a splatter of ink - each element contributing in its own unique way to the formation of his images. The interaction and visual interplay of these symbols and graphical forms is an ever evolving process of discovery and modification, and continues to lend itself to countless and varied motifs. More conventional symbols and markings often make appearances too, such as arrows, stars and kites. These linear elements are usually detached from their original meaning and used in new ways to manipulate surface tension, shape agreement, or even more frequently, as purely abstract iconography.