Sarah Bell has been a creative force in the art world in the Rockford area since the early 1970’s. She was not only an art educator with the Rockford Public Schools, but also has shown her elegant watercolor paintings in exhibitions throughout the region.
On Friday, February 2nd, Bell will present an exhibition of her new paintings titled “Silk Scenes” opening in the Kortman Gallery. However, these paintings are not her characteristic watercolors on paper, but created with colorful dyes on silk, culminating in captivating images on scarves.
“Even though my scarves are suitable for framing,” says Bell, “I really like to see them as wearable paintings on silk fabrics that are flowing and interactive.”
Since her background is watercolor, creating images on fabric was a straightforward transformation in technique for Bell.
“These paintings on silk are a natural transition for me,” said Bell. “Applying silk dye to fabric does the same as wet paper, the dyes spread across the surface in the same manner. I begin with white fabric, draw lines using a liquid resist called gutta. The liquid dries and then acts as dams to hold the color in specific places.”
The result is amazing imagery on a one of a kind scarf that is not only an exciting fashion accessory, but a remarkable work of art.
“We are exhibiting the scarves on the gallery walls as we would traditional paintings,” says Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky. “However, they are unmounted and unframed, allowing the viewer a chance to have not only a visual experience, but tactile interaction with the silk fabrics. Sarah created them with the idea that they are works of art that would be worn.”
“Silk Scenes” featuring paintings on silk by Sarah Bell opening reception is Friday, February 2nd from, 5:30 to 9pm upstairs in the Kortman Gallery, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. Her exhibit will run through April 13th. J.R. Kortman Center for Design and Kortman Gallery are open Tuesday through Friday, 11am to 6pm and Saturdays, 11am to 5pm.
The opening event and gallery are free and open to the public. For more information visit phone 815-968-0123.