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Library colleague shows artistic flair

Oct 05, 2018

Viv Bell
Viv Bell

Viv Bell, Academic Skills Consultant in The Library, has recently seen her hobby recognised in two major exhibitions.

She said: “I’ve always dabbled in creative things, whether it’s painting and drawing or sculpture. I guess the thing that draws me to art is natural forms, so looking at nature, leaf structures, different colours, those things really inspire me.”

After years of - as she puts it - “dabbling”, Viv saw a post on social media from artist Sarah Greaves, who was putting together an exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery.

The Other in Mother explored how motherhood changes women both physically and emotionally, and Greaves asked mothers to contribute images which they felt summed up life as a mum.

“The section I was in was called The Library of Objects, so people took photographs of things that mean something to them, ranging from half-drunk cups of tea to balls of hair that have fallen out,” mother-of-two Viv explained.

“My own contribution was a flannel, because I just feel like I’m constantly washing and wiping and cleaning up after the children.

“I also wrote a poem to go along with it, which was all about the different ways that you’re occupied once you become a mum; how your needs come last as you try to put your child first, all the washing and changing, how you try to cook healthily for the kids but you know you’re going to be in the snack cupboard or ordering a takeaway later on, that sort of thing.

“The poem was very much a reflection on the different ways that having babies has impacted on my life.”

The Other in Mother ran at the Mosley Street gallery for three days at the end of September.

Viv said: “I’ve never put forward pieces before, so when I got the email saying they’d like to include it in the gallery and in a book as well, it was amazing.

“It was a real privilege as Manchester Art Gallery is one of my favourites.”

But Viv didn’t stop submitting work there, and also has a piece in the 160th Anniversary Exhibition at Stockport’s Vernon Park Art Gallery.

The gallery put out an open call to artists, asking them to submit art on the theme of the gallery’s anniversary, or related to 1858, the year the park opened.

Viv’s submission was an acrylic painting of a flamingo (pictured below), which was a popular animal for artists to depict in Victorian times.

“The flamingo is set against a geometric design,” she explained. “My interest is in natural forms, which is represented by the flamingo, but I wanted some contrast, and I like the contrast of the geometric shapes and the colours.

“The flamingo is a very vibrant pink and the background is different hues of blue. I’m really happy that it’s been included in the exhibition.”

The 160th Anniversary Exhibition runs until Sunday, 4 November.