“Leslie Bell: Paintings & Drawings Waiting to Go On" at MidCoast Gallery West / The ARTery -- February 8 through March 31.

Friday, February 8, through Saturday, March 30

Opening Reception: Friday, February 8, 6 – 8 p.m.

MidCoast Gallery West / The ARTery, 1629 Second Avenue, Rock Island IL

Works by one of the Quad Cities' most revered artistic talents and an emeritus professor at St. Ambrose University will be on display at MidCoast Gallery West / The ARTery February 8 through March 30, with the Rock Island venue celebrating its 10th birthday with the debut of the new exhibition Leslie Bell: Paintings & Drawings Waiting to Go On.

Highly regarded for his many years of teaching at St. Ambrose, Bell came to Iowa in 1965 to study art at the university with renowned calligrapher Father Edward Catich. After graduating in 1972, he completed his MFA in painting at Northern Illinois University and has consequently exhibited all across America, with shows in such cities as Chicago, Atlanta, and Tampa. Bell's citations and awards include an Arts Midwest/NEA fellowship, the Special Recognition Award – Best in Painting – from the Des Moines Art Center, and grants from the Iowa Arts Council and Quad City Arts. He's currently represented by the Moberg Gallery in Des Moines and the Hudson River Galleries in Iowa City.

For more than 15 years, Bell’s figurative paintings have explored images of love, education, longing, and nature, with exhibitions of his work showcased in venues including Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, Galerie Timothy Tew, in Atlanta; and San Francisco's University of California. Jerry Cullum, the editor of Art Paper and a critic for Art in America, has said of the artist, “His recent paintings are a rare combination of vision, skill, and wit. The stories are enacted in brilliantly composed landscapes amid stunning effects of light. Bell's imagination has created not just magical realism, but real magic.”

An opening reception for Leslie Bell: Paintings & Drawings Waiting to Go On will be held during the 10th birthday party for MidCoast Gallery West / The ARTery on February 8 from 6 to 8 p.m., and regular gallery hours are 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free, and more information is available by calling (309)781-7668 or visiting MidCoast.org.

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