In the exhibition Death Becomes Her, Catherine Bell presents a series of sculptures and photographs, continuing her exploration of the grief-based rituals that maintain ties between the living and the dead.
Informing Bell’s investigation is Physician and author Sir Thomas Browne’s writing on archaic death practices and how associations are formed between the dead and their material culture. In the text Urn Burial (1658), he discusses how artefacts, such as interred burial urns, operate as spatio-temporal vessels, that unite the living with their ancient forebears.
The hand-carved objects in this exhibition are inspired by marble monuments and funerary vessels that adorn graves. Bell uses Oasis florist foam–often salvaged from cemeteries and hospices–to reinforce contrasting themes of fragility and resilience, decay and preservation, impermanence and permanence. The photographs in the exhibition, commemorate and memorialise the delicate sculptures, their sombre beauty connecting the present to what is lost and absent.
Select solo exhibitions: Odor Patris Tu, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2017; The Remains of the Day, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2014; The Gathering, Substation, Melbourne, 2013; This little piggy…fades to pink, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Melbourne, 2012; Mum’s the Word, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2011; Love and Other Bruises, Monash Faculty Gallery, Melbourne, 2007; Felt is the Past Tense of Feel, Galapagas Art Space, Brooklyn, and Linden Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2006-07.
Select group exhibitions: Craftivism, SAM, Shepparton and touring regionally, 2018-20; Pairs, Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney, 2018; Ceremonial, Craft Victoria, Melbourne, 2016; New photography from the Footpath, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, 2014; Knowing Me Knowing You, Arts Project Australia, Melbourne, 2014; Backflip: Feminism and humour in contemporary art, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne, 2013; The Animal Gaze, Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery, Sheffield, 2011; Seminário Internacional Arte e Natureza, Matilha Cultural, Sao Paulo, 2011.Artist’s profile Further reading