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DON BELL + JOHN Y. WIND     NOV 4 - JAN 27, 2024

James Oliver Gallery in Philadelphia is pleased to present Cool Under Pressure: a two-person exhibition featuring Don Bell and John Y. Wind. Join us for the Closing Reception on Saturday, January 27th from 6-9pm. RVSP now!

Amidst the heat of the headlines and the holiday hurry, Cool Under Pressure displays an uplifting reclaim against both extraordinary and quotidian oppressions. Here, totems of authentic valor are compounded in plaster, and poetic tributes on film illuminate common and sacred heroism. Bell and Wind inspire with the universal quality of their "humble" materials, each utilizing compositional elements that one might consider rudimentary. They've each incorporated a level of chemical ritual in the practice, further venerating the subject.

Don Bell is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and visual artist who uses portraiture as a vehicle to create narrative experiences that arrive at the intersection of defiance, vulnerability and unapologetic truth. Much of his work focuses on amplifying the richness and complexities within communities of color, displaying intrigue in humanity and the range of emotions that exist under the protective armor we create to navigate life’s ups and downs.

Bell’s work has been featured internationally by Vogue Italia and Iconic Artist Magazine. Recent works have been on display at NoName Gallery (Chestnut Hill, PA), The Halide Project (Philadelphia) and TILT Philadelphia. Bell exhibited at Hot Bed Philly’s SUMMERHOUSE (June 2021) and was previously featured at “In the Commons,” a group show by Philadelphia Photo Arts Center at Cherry Street Pier in Philadelphia (April 2021). Solo exhibits include Unharnessed (Philly Art Collective, April 2019), and Life in Progress (World Wide Mind Gallery, Los Angeles 2014).

Don Bell, Lyrics & Prose, 2022.

When not shooting, Bell steps in front of the camera as the Sports Director and lead Sports Anchor at CBS News Philadelphia. Prior, Bell helped launch Fox Sports 1 and anchored SportsCenter and other shows on ESPN’s family of networks.

 

In this body of work, Bell emphasizes authenticity over the artificial. 

 

Photography is used here as a vehicle to create narrative experiences that arrive at the intersection of defiance, vulnerability and unapologetic truth: hope and heartbreak, fulfillment and fear, amusement and anger, and more. Through this medium, the subjects and environments that feed our innate curiosity in one another are captured, allowing us to stare without consequence, inquire without worry, and more importantly, grow through cultural understanding and exposure.

Don Bell, Poppa and Pooh Bear, 2023.

Don Bell, Easy Like Sunday Morning, 2023.

John Y. Wind was born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia, and studied at the Slade School of Art in London. His work explores the intersection of art, commerce, and portraiture, and is layered with ephemera and objects from his past, his travels, his family, his obsessions, and his day job--as the co-founder and chief designer of John Wind Jewelry, a well-known fashion jewelry and gift brand.

Wind has exhibited throughout Philadelphia (including a solo show at James Oliver Gallery in 2013 and group show in 2016), at the Camden Arts Center, London, and in art fairs in New York and Miami.  His work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2022 he won Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly® for Best Artist.

Wind focuses here on two series: Monuments to Everyone and Whiskey Rebellion. Monuments to Everyone replaces the heroes we have historically been offered--bronze gods high atop marble columns--with something more inclusive and universal. The materials are humble—plastic water bottles and globes, plaster, scraps of wood, and painted figurines… Each element symbolic of modern life, humanity, our bodies, and Art. The selected mini monuments are intentionally priced quite low, in the spirit of accessibility that the works themselves represent.

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John Y. Wind, Monuments to Everyone series

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John Y. Wind, Whiskey Rebellion: Giuseppe Galliano

Whiskey Rebellion also questions the notion of heroes, but is inspired by a quirky collection of 1960’s figurative whiskey decanters. The grouping is centered on Heroes of the American Revolution, Wind intervened by embellishing and recontextualizing the subjects, exploring issues of masculinity, heroism, and the very notion of commemoration through a decidedly 21st century lens.

View more of Wind's work on his artist page.

 

On view through January 27th 2024, you won’t want to miss this timely enshrinement of remedial solidarity.

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