Jesse M Bell was born in 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”. He currently works and lives, along with his wife, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Inspiration for my 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 my images. The interaction and visual interplay of these symbols 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. The resulting work is steeped in the visual language of modernism and the corresponding, mid century modes of formal exploration. It is art primarily concerned with the interaction between, and delineation of, both shape and color and often emphasizes a loose, more automatic approach to the application of pigment and arrangement of form. This framework allows me to discover the narrative, or slice of time, that is the underlying content of the piece. There is a story there, waiting to be manifested and described. It is through this artistic exploration, and continuing visual conversation, that I assimilate time, experience, and my being-in-the-world.