Mini Masterpiece

Small works show great talent

Posted: March 17, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Courtesy Image “Tree and Water Wall: Houston,” by Fayetteville photographer J.P. Bell, is one of 36 pieces in this year’s “Small Works on Paper” traveling art exhibition. The exhibit will visit 10 galleries across the state, but its current display at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville will be its only stop in Northwest Arkansas for this year.
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Courtesy Image “Tree and Water Wall: Houston,” by Fayetteville photographer J.P. Bell, is one of 36 pieces in this year’s “Small Works on Paper” traveling art exhibition. The exhibit will visit 10 galleries across the state, but its current display at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville will be its only stop in Northwest Arkansas for this year.

Ask J.P. Bell what type of photographer he is, and he's likely to say a nature photographer. But Bell's definition of the word "nature" might not be as traditional as others think.

"I consider this whole world part of the natural world," says the Fayetteville photographer. "Whether I'm photographing a beaver dam on a mountain creek in the Rocky Mountains, or a series of overpasses on a freeway in downtown Dallas -- it's all nature photography because man is part of the natural world. We have to realize that to survive."

FAQ

Small Works on Paper

WHEN — On display through March 27

WHERE — Burns Hall, Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville

COST — Free

INFO — arkansasarts.org, jpbellphotography.com

So when it came time to submit a photograph for the Arkansas Arts Council's "Small Works on Paper" traveling exhibit, Bell chose one of his unconventional nature shots: the Water Wall at Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park in Houston. Water and concrete, nature and industry, all mingling in one image.

"It was a very exciting place to see this huge wall of water over this concrete sculpture. And to see these bare trees outlined against that water wall was kind of mystical in a way," Bell says. "It made me happy that the people in Houston have a chance to hear the sound of running water. Running water is something we associate with mountain streams and waterfalls, but the folks that live in downtown Houston have a chance to hear, on a daily basis if they choose, the sound of falling water."

Of the 36 works by Arkansas artists curated for the exhibit, Bell's black and white image was one of five (and the only work from Northwest Arkansas) chosen for a purchase award: The winner receives the cash value of the piece, which is added to the council's permanent collection. This is the 30th year for the juried exhibition that travels to 10 galleries throughout the state each year.

"It's great that the Arts Council has a way for artists in the state to show their work," says Bell, thrilled to be included in the show again. "It serves a great function to let citizens of the state know we have active artists creating new work every year, and gives people a chance to see what it is."

NAN What's Up on 03/17/2017