Roberley Bell — College of Imaging Arts & Sciences
“You take delight not in a city's seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.”
- Invisible Cities Italo Calvino
ROBERLEY BELL IS A PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF FOUNDATIONS AND ART HISTORY. AS BOTH AN ARTIST AND EDUCATOR HER PRACTICE EXPLORES WAYS OF THINKING, LOOKING AND MAKING WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF A SPECIFIC PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT.
Professor Roberley Bell's areas of specialization span the disciplines of the visual arts with an emphasis on sculpture and working within the public realm. Her sculptures explore the natural world by both borrowing and abstracting from it to produce hyper-realized fantastical landscapes. Her current series Flower Blobs and Other Landscape fast-forwards the origins of organic abstraction into the 21st century. Her sculptures take their cue from blob design and are realized, like many contemporary buildings and forms, through the aegis of computer aided design. The sculptures she creates reveal themselves as natural forms, but paradoxically are in fact based on nothing that exists in nature.
Travel is an integral part of Professor Bell's research, and includes a range of activities from visiting gardens that have influenced specific projects to the exploring of unfamiliar locales. For Bell, travel serves as a vehicle by which we remove ourselves from our own familiar surroundings and cultural assumptions and force ourselves to begin learning through our senses, which are heightened by the new experience.
Professor Bell's teaching is inspired by her creative practice and she brings her appreciation for being an artist in a global society directly into her classroom. Bell has taught in the CIAS Design Dessau program, at ACMT in Croatia and most recently as a senior Fulbright scholar in Turkey. Back in Rochester, Bell continues to find ways to involve her students in cross-cultural experiences, most recently working on a social design project with colleagues in Turkey. This project has been commissioned by LASDER Tire Industrialist Association of Turkey and investigates the development of new products through the re-use of End of Life Tires (ELT). The project focuses on the creation of urban furniture and playgrounds in areas in Eastern Turkey. Her participation as a collaborator in this project affords her students the opportunity to team with design students in Istanbul. Bell is passionate about teaching across disciplines and cultures. Last year she taught a joint course with the Saunders College of Business in design thinking. She also believes that successful students in the 21st century need to have exposure to working across cultures in order to gain a clear understanding of the global society in which they live and work as creative practitioners.