Gallery Watching

Ellen Bell

Exhibitions | 29 November 2023 - 29 May 2024

Gallery Watching has been a year-long project funded by Arts Council Wales (ACW). It was conceived as a means of using drawing to capture visitors’ reactions when engaging with art in an art space. Visiting Oriel Davies (OD) and Ruthin Craft Centre (RCC) once a month, I performed real-time reportage drawing - a kind of rapid-fire, instinctual, reactive method of drawing – so that the people that I was drawing could both see and participate in what I was doing.

Each month I also wrote an online journal chronicling my experiences of drawing in the galleries, illustrating this with my drawings. A visual narrative began to take shape that told of the galleries’ ebb and flow – their exhibitions, events and visiting demographic – but also the nature of the peripheral architecture of their physical structures.

In support of the project, and as means of keeping my drawing ‘warm’, I began a practice of drawing every day, choosing spaces in which I could observe people. I drew in sketchbooks, as I did in the galleries. I love sketchbooks. I love their portability, their covertness and held-in-the-hand intimacy.

Gallery Watching has been a marvellous experience for me and I am truly grateful to ACW, to all at OD and RCC for so generously supporting me and allowing me such free rein in their spaces (and to drip ink all over their floors). My drawing practice has flourished as a result.

Ellen Bell, September 2023

Gallery Watching Journal: gallerywatching.ellenbell.co.uk

Instagram: @textbelle16

Website: www.ellenbell.co.uk

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