Watercolors by Barbara Bell

Common Ground is a collection of black and white photographs by Daniel Bell and watercolor paintings by Barbara Bell. The collection demonstrates their shared aesthetic and search for those things in the natural world that remain constant and beautiful, even amidst the destruction and chaos brought about by human endeavor. They paint and photograph elements of the landscape that reflect nature untouched by human influence, occasionally traveling together to the remote places where they may still come in contact with the primordial. More often they look close to home, in the woods and beaches of the Delmarva, for glimpses of the ancient connection between humans and the earth. Daniel's photographs record the incredible detail and design in the subjects he choses, often overlooked by the casual observer. Barbara' s work captures the rhythmic cycles of plant and animal life and is openly didactic in its attempt to teach its viewers the lessons inherent in the natural world. Their works neither glorify nor mourn the passing of the world they depict, but reflect their hope for a more balanced and thoughtful stewardship.

Working together as colleagues, rather than as mother and son, has been artistically useful and personally inspiring for both Barbara and Daniel. Daniel's instruction in the basic principles of composition and use of the camera have enabled Barbara to use her own photographs as a major resource for her paintings. Barbara's use of materials collected in the woods or by the sea reflects Daniel's tight focus on natural objects in visually simple settings. Their continuing dialogue about this work has engendered much thought about how best to use the strengths of their respective media to further their shared vision and to make "common ground" with an audience seeking to better understand our relation to the natural world.

Common Ground

A Collaborative Exhibition


Daniel Bell and Barbara Bell