Anonda Bell

Ways to Refer to Her
2016-2017
gouache on paper, framed
installation - dimensions variable

​​Language both reflects and creates realty - it has an impact on thoughts and actions.  How we use language alters the way we experience the world.  Such commonly used language to refer to women is inherently negative - steeped in age old biases, sexism and misogyny.  This series contains 100 words that have been, or are, in use to refer to women. 

The Suburbs at 4 a.m.
2017-present
mixed media 
Installation - dimensions variable


In 1932 Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti created a work titled “The Palace at 4 a.m.”  This piece drew heavily on personal experience, speaking to an experience where he hooked up with a woman we know only as “Denise”.  The work references automatic art making techniques and his association with Surrealist artists.  The work reads as a dream sequence, a stage like scene, with a suggestive narrative and clues indicating the presence of privileged people engaged in the activities at a luxurious palace in the middle of the night.  The ambiguity of the work is enchanting.  Born into royalty, the occupants of the palace are free from the drudgery of every day life and therefore able to indulge their whims, engage in any pleasurable recreational pursuits. "The Suburbs at 4 a.m." explores an idea about the experience of women in the post war era.  The implied stories glimpsed through this installation address the anxiety of women who were unable to achieve a state of tranquility in their pastel hued homes, even when surrounded by the hallmarks of domestic bliss.  Their plight is one of quiet desperation, days that blurred into one another through a haze of common tranquilizers.  Often the psychotropic drugs women imbibed were intended for specific diseases, but in this case they served to numb pervasive disquiet, a sense of unease associated with an inability to be charmed by everything they were told would be good for them.

Media Mothers
2012-present
Acrylic, ink, enamel, cut paper
Installation – dimensions variable

The media is defined as a “means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, which reach or influence people widely’.  The images in this work were collected to bring to the viewers attention the contrast between idealized images of motherhood disseminated by advertising and popular culture, and images of motherhood as they are played out every day in the news.  Each of the women depicted in this series has appeared recently in the media, either print or electronic versions.  The stories vary from heroism, to history to shameful acts perpetrated by women who exhibit no behavior compatible with stereotypical ideas of maternal instincts.  This series is in effect a form of longitudinal study – reflecting changing ideas about motherhood over a period of time.  The series started in 2012 (after the birth of my child) and I have been collecting stories since then. 

Biophobia
2011-present
mixed media on cut paper
Installation - dimensions variable

​“Biophobia” is defined as a sense of dis-ease in nature, and a derisive regard for climates and environments which are not man made or at least modified significantly by people.  It is thought to be an acquired urge to affiliate with technology, human artifacts, to the exclusion of experiencing the natural world outside a constructed environment.  This condition is a seemingly inevitable consequence of growing up in an urban environment where our interactions with nature may be limited to incidental encounters, strictly mediated and moderated by the perspective of urban planners, or those who generate media content (and sometimes benefit from propagating a fear of nature).

Yellow Wallpaper
2017-2018
silkscreen, paint on paper
Installation – dimensions variable, each sheet H 20" x W 20"

 Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860 – 1935) was an American feminist.  In 1892 she wrote a book titled “Yellow Wallpaper” which portrays the narrator's insanity as a way to protest the oppression of women at the time.  Perkins witnessed the medical profession randomly diagnosing women as feeble in both mind and body.  As a consequence it seemed both natural and obvious that women’s contributions to society should be limited by their obviously inferior capacity.  This work is a homage to her.

Neither Shall You Touch It from the series "Reinstated
2013-2014
mixed media on cut paper
Installation - dimensions variable

​The scene is located in a liminal world, a version of the Garden of Eden, but one that might exist in a dream.  It is a place that only exists after twilight and before dawn.  I like the ambiguity of this times of day, when darkness impedes clear vision, tones are muted, and activities that seem improper during the day may be enacted at nighttime.  The world that is represented in this version of the Garden of Eden is not one of lush fecundity, nature’s splendor, but of probable doom, alluding to aspects of the natural world less cherished or celebrated.  The figures are shadowy; their mercurial bodies are constituted by a temporary conflation of elements, which could be perilously close to being disassembled at any given point in the future.  Freud once stated “Anatomy is destiny”.  The women in this work, Eve and Lilith, are social constructs, appearing and acting in accordance with a degree of biological inevitability.  Eve is every woman; her actions facilitating the expulsion of people from the garden could be expected, as it is thought by some that women are by their nature inherently duplicitous and conniving.