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Alan Ibell Biography

Alan Ibell is a contemporary New Zealand painter whose pastel-hued paintings explore themes of memory, dreams, personal anxieties, and spirituality, as well as Greek and Roman mythology. By employing non-linear perspective and abstracted elements, Ibell uses figuration lightly in the exploration of broader metaphysical ideas.

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Life

Born in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Alan Ibell holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Otago Polytechnic, Ōtepoti Dunedin. He lived in Melbourne for several years before returning to New Zealand in 2016.

Artwork

In 2015, Ibell was granted an artist's residency in Assisi, Italy, where he was exposed to the work of Italian Renaissance Masters, who were influential in the development of his practice. By using religious and mythological tropes in his work, Ibell explores how the tradition of narrative painting can operate within a contemporary secular context.

Ibell's work is also evocative of the work of Surrealists René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico in its concern with psychological environments. His works are preoccupied with the interplay between the mundane and the strange, and are filled with double meanings, shifting between reality and illusion, dark and light, past and present.

Landscapes like Final Reflection (2021) contain panels of colour that break up the sparse and imposing environment to create a dream-like scene. The desolate space inhabited by a long-shadowed figure probes the relationship between the physical and subconscious self.

Similarly, the idea of containment is a recurring theme in Ibell's work, particularly as expressed by motifs of caged birds, bound books, and brick enclosures. The works House at Night and House at Dawn (both 2021) at first resemble innocuous domestic scenes but there is a disquieting effect in the illusionary perspective and the oppressively large walls, allowing no obvious entry or exit.

Stylistic Development

Alan Ibell's early works were monochromatic, illustrative paintings. Over time, this style has gradually developed to become more abstracted with fewer elements. The effect is a more subtle narrative where patches of tone, panels of colour, bricks, jugs, and figures are reduced to simplified components, all adding to the otherworldly quality of his paintings.

Awards and Exhibitions

Alan Ibell has won a number of awards, including the City of Dunedin Art Award (2010) and the Edinburgh Realty Premier Art Award (2009). Ibell was a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards 2018, 2016, and 2009, and the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award 2020 and 2019.

Ibell received the Karekare House Residency, Auckland in 2019 and the Arte Studio Ginestrelle International Artist and Writers Residency, Mount Subasio, Italy in 2015.

Exhibitions

The artist's current solo exhibition Vessels is on at Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington (15 September—9 October 2021).

In addition to this exhibition, the artist has participated in the following select solo exhibitions, including Ascendants, Sanderson Contemporary Art, Auckland (2020); A Place to Put the Ghosts, Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington (2020); Old Energies, TSB Wallace Arts Centre, Pah Homestead, Auckland (2019); He Thinks This House is A Tomb, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne (2015); Rubicon ARI Launch, Rubicon ARI, Melbourne (2012); Isn't It Good To Be Lost In The Wood, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne (2012); and Tales from the Interior, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin (2009).

The artist has also participated in the following group exhibitions, including Sydney Contemporary Presents 2020 (online) (2020); The Karekare House Residency 2019 Exhibition, TSB Wallace Arts Centre, Pah Homestead, Auckland (2019); The 27th Annual Wallace Art Awards - Salon des Refusés, TSB Wallace Arts Centre, Pah Homestead, Auckland (2018); Auckland Art Fair (2018); Sydney Contemporary (2018); and International Contemporary Art Exhibition 2015, Art Gallery le Logge, Assisi (2015).

Website and Instagram

Alan Ibell's website can be found here, and his Instagram can be found here.

Frances Crombie | Ocula | 2021

Alan Ibell Featured Artworks

Vision of a Depleted Spring by Alan Ibell contemporary artwork painting
Alan IbellVision of a Depleted Spring, 2021Acrylic on canvas
124 x 163 cm
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Threshold (The Well) by Alan Ibell contemporary artwork painting
Alan IbellThreshold (The Well), 2021Acrylic on canvas
71.5 x 52.5 cm
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Kiln III by Alan Ibell contemporary artwork painting
Alan IbellKiln III, 2021Acrylic on canvas
63 x 47.5 cm
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Kiln II by Alan Ibell contemporary artwork painting
Alan IbellKiln II, 2021Acrylic on canvas
63.5 x 49 cm
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Kiln I by Alan Ibell contemporary artwork painting
Alan IbellKiln I, 2021Acrylic on canvas
56.5 x 43.5 cm
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Final Reflection by Alan Ibell contemporary artwork painting
Alan IbellFinal Reflection, 2021Acrylic on canvas
83.5 x 83.5 cm
Sold
Jhana Millers
Threshold (The Potter) by Alan Ibell contemporary artwork painting
Alan IbellThreshold (The Potter), 2021Acrylic on canvas (framed)
89 x 120 cm
Sold
Jhana Millers
The Keeper by Alan Ibell contemporary artwork painting
Alan IbellThe Keeper, 2019Acrylic on canvas
72.5 x 54.5 cm
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
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