PHANTOM Exhibition Artist: Michael Bell, by Kian West / by Kian West

“IN MARCH 1977, THE NEWCASTLE ART GALLERY OFFICIALLY OPENED TO THE PUBLIC AS ONE OF THE FIRST PURPOSE BUILT, CONTEMPORARY, REGIONAL ART GALLERIES IN AUSTRALIA. ON THE 1ST OF SEPTEMBER THAT SAME YEAR, THE EXHIBITION GHOST WHO WALKS NEVER CAN DIE WAS HELD, A CELEBRATION OF POP ART INSPIRED BY THE LONG RUNNING PHANTOM COMICS. IN 2017, THE GALLERY'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GHOST WHO WALKS RETURNS TO NEWCASTLE AS THE PHANTOM SHOW, CURATED BY PETER KINGSTON AND DIETMAR LEDERWASCH.” NAG.ORG.AU/EXHIBITIONS/FUTURE/THE-PHANTOM-SHOW 

Inspired by the ghost’s return, we caught up with Graham Wilson, Aleta Lederwasch, Lezlie Tilley, Michael Bell, John Morris, Peter Tilley and Dietmar Lederwasch ahead of the exhibition to find out and share with you a little bit about them.

MICHAEL BELL

Tell me a little bit about yourself, Michael...
Michael: I am a Newcastle based artist and have been creating and exhibiting my artwork for over 35 years. I have held 21 solo shows in Sydney and Newcastle and have participated in over 150 group shows. My latest show was at Newcastle's Curve gallery in March 2017. I have also produced various t-shirt designs, graphics and posters for the iconic surf label MAMBO and ABC radio Triple J.
I was a regular exhibitor with Sydney gallerist Ray Hughes for over 22 years until the gallery’s closure in late 2015. I have been hung in twice in The Archibald Prize and four times in The Sulman Prize at the AGNSW, Sydney. I have also been selected 5 times as a finalist in The Kilgour Prize hosted by Newcastle Art Gallery. I was also the recipient of the Paris Studio at The Cite des Internationale administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2007 and 2011.
My work is held in many collections - including The Australian National Gallery Canberra and Newcastle Art Gallery.

How long have you been an artist?
M: About 35 years.

Can you describe your style?
M: My work can be both painterly and graphic and my imagery is mostly based on things I have experienced.

Have you got a special connection to the Phantom exhibition coming to Newcastle Art Gallery?
M: Yes! Forty years ago,( 1977) the Newcastle Region Gallery ( as it was then known) was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth with an exhibition titled:  Ghost who walks can never die. A Pop art show. In 1977, I was in my final year at high school andI saw this show! It was very inspirational. Many years later, I became friends with the artists Martin Sharp and Peter Kingston who were a part of that exhibition.
For the 2017 The Phantom Show at Newcastle Art Gallery, I have produced a limited edition screen print 40th Anniversary Commemorative Tea Towel!

Who are your favourite Novocastrian artists?
M: There are many. I like the work of Pete Gardiner andJames Drinkwater to name a few...

What’s next?
M: Currently working on a bunch of projects-mainly for 2018.

 

THE PHANTOM SHOW is at the NEWCASTLE ART GALLERY FROM JUNE 10 - AUGUST 20 2017.