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Richard Bell

b. 1953

Richard Bell is an Indigenous Australian (Kamilaroi) artist who lives and works in Brisbane, Australia. Known primarily as painter, Bell’s work appropriates elements of the work of artists such as Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, Sidney Nolan and Imants Tillers into pointed commentaries on the cultural relationships between Aboriginal people and white Australians. Bell’s subjects include the art market, cross-racial relationships and other political concerns. Bell’s paintings are often blunt in their text-based commentaries. His painting Scienta E Metaphysica (Bell's Theorem), for which he won the 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal Arts Award, states “Aboriginal art — It’s a white thing”.

Bell has also made a number of videos that mix the artist’s often satirical approach with serious examinations of the Australian national psyche. Scratch an Aussie (2008) portrayed Bell as Sigmund Freud in a faux 19th century sitting room listening to the complaints and problems of a series of patients, gold swimsuit and bikini-wearing youths with blonde hair wigs. 

Andrew Frost
Birth place
Charleville, Queensland, Australia
Other group exhibitions 

Terra Nullius, ACC Galerie, Weimar & HALLE 14, Leipzig, Germany; Marella: The Hidden Mission, Penrith Regional Gallery, Penrith, NSW, Australia, 2009. 

Half Light, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Revolutions: Forms That Turn, 2008 Biennale of Sydney; New Millenium, Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore, NSW; Human Rights Arts & Film Festival, Carlton Studios, Melbourne, Australia, 2008. 

Culture Warriors: National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (touring exhibition 2007–09); Power & Beauty, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; Sunshine State, Smart State, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney; The Independence Project, Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2007. 

Parallel Lives: New Painting in Australia, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Melbourne; Recent Acquisitions, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2006.

Queensland Live, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia, touring exhibition, 2005–08. 

Blak Insights, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2004.

The White Show, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane; Lines II, Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane, 2002. 

Dreamtime: The Dark and The Light, Sammlung Essl, Austria, 2001; The White Desert, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane; A Few of My Favourite Things, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, 2001. 

The New Republics, Adelaide, England, Canada, South Africa, 1999–2000. 

Heritage Award, Canberra, 1997. 

Heritage Award, Canberra, 1996. 

Telstra National Indigenous Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia; Heritage Award, Canberra, 1995. 

True Colours, London, Liverpool, Leicester, England; Perth, Sydney, Australia, 1994–5. 

Australian Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; ARATJARA, Dusseldorf, London, Humelbaek; Australian Aboriginal Art, Bomani Gallery, San Francisco, USA; Ian Abdulla, Richard Bell, Harry Wedge, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists' Cooperative, Sydney; Plenty of Campfires, Space Plentitude, Brisbane; Politcial Works, Space Plentitude, Brisbane, 1993. 

9th Sydney Biennale, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992–3. 

Stories, Kerava Museum, Helsinki, Sweden; Aboriginal *Crisis* Live, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 1992. 

Flash Pictures, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Unfamiliar Territory, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 1991.  

1990 Balance, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1990. 

Aboriginal Art: Urban & Tribal, Wiumulli, Brisbane, 1989. 

Awards, collections 
Awards: Archibald Prize Finalist, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 2004; Winner, 2003 National Telstra Indigenous Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia; Winner, National Aboriginal Art Award, Gold Coast Arts Centre, Queensland, Australia, 1993. Collections: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane; Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane; Artbank, Sydney; Gold Coast City Art Gallery; Flinders University, Victoria, Australia; Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, Queensland; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
Still from Scratch an Aussie, Richard Bell, 2008.
Still from Scratch an Aussie, Richard Bell, 2008.