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Jessica Bell, Seed Work, 2017, fabric remnant on quilted and stretched muslin, 56 x 72 x 1 3/4" (detail)

installation views

Jessica Bell

25 February - 30 March 2017

Unit 17 is pleased to present a solo exhibition with recent works by Jessica Bell. 

These women in my family would seem to have been pragmatic and in their deepest instincts clinically radical, given to breaking clean with everyone and everything they knew. (...) They tended to accommodate any means in pursuit of an uncertain end. They tended to avoid dwelling on just what that end might imply. When they could not think what else to do they moved another thousand miles, set out another garden: beans and squash and sweet peas from seeds carried from the last place. The past could be jettisoned, children buried and parents left behind, but seeds got carried. They were women, these women in my family, without much time for second thoughts, without inclination toward equivocation, and later, when there was time or inclination, there developed a tendency, which I came to see as endemic, toward slight and major derangements, apparently eccentric pronouncements, opaque bewilderment and moves to places not quite on schedule.

[Joan Didion, "Where I Was From" in We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: The Collected Nonfiction (Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2006), 955-956.]


Jessica Bell (b.1977, Canada) has twice been a finalist in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition and has exhibited in such venues as the Ottawa Art Gallery, Idea Exchange and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. A recent artist-in-residence at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, she will present Fits and Starts, a solo exhibition at Ottawa’s Central Art Garage later in 2017. Bell lives in Vancouver. 

The artist gratefully acknowledges the British Columbia Arts Council for their support of this project. 

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