“In traditional sculpture, there are a lot of steps you go through before a piece is finished. Each step takes away some of the vitality of the original clay, so you have to work hard to put it back in at the finishing stage. I enjoy this journey in sculpture. I want my work to live. I want people to feel the energy, the emotion of form. All too often sculpture can look lifeless. The excitement is the possibility of capturing an energy, a vitality. When people see my work, touch it and feel moved by that power, then I am happy. If I can do that then I have succeeded in what I set out to do as a sculptor.”
Toby Bell, 2012
TOBY BELL is a Fremantle based figurative sculptor who creates energetic powerful works of stunning emotional intensity. He uses modern techniques in innovative and experimental ways to create unique and striking energetic sculpture.
Son to a Russian painter and a Scottish doctor, his childhood in London was torn between the opposing worlds of science and art.
His talent as a fine artist was noted early but this passion was interrupted by a medical degree. He became a practicing doctor while always creating art where time permitted.
Although now he has found balance in his life -working equally/both as a doctor and a sculptor, this initial conflict is still one of underlying themes in his work.
He works out of a large studio warehouse in the heart of the Fremantle artistic community. His scientific training, knowledge of anatomy as well as his passion for creative experimentation has led to an unusual form of artistic emotional expression. A science art hybrid, which is passionate and expressive and uses the human form to explore emotional resonance.
Some works are made using traditional bronze casting, others from a range of modern materials. He frequently incorporates computer mediated sound light or movement into the sculpture. All of them carry the same kinetic energy and vibrancy.
His extensive work focuses on the ideas behind fundamental human experiences such as love, sexuality, spirituality, symbolism and aspects of consciousness. The viewer is not a passive observer, but is drawn into the narrative of each piece.
These Sculptures vary in size from only a few centimeters to truly monumental, yet all convey emotional energy through form and movement.
Over the last 4 years the scale of Toby’s work has been increasing. He has created several very large-scale works for public exhibition.
The large scale Caliban, was created for Sculpture by the Sea 2012, and looked at emotional tension between archetypal masculine and feminine energy, and explored the opposing forces of logic control and sexual and emotional tension
Portal for Sculpture by the Sea 2013 had the intent to find a more peaceful and meditative center as a connection to the infinite.
For the Blazing Swan Festival in 2015, he designed the largest figurative sculpture produced in West Australia. It stood over 16 meters high with a breadth and depth equal to the height.
The blending of the natural environment with these large works is often a key element in the concept. If left alone, nature will incorporate the forms into her web. Natural elements become part of the sculpture, which, in turn, takes on a new life in the process. Another kind of natural interaction occurs with fire and some sculptures are specifically designed to burn.
He also produced Jonah in 2014, which consisted of a series of giant whale ribs within which were suspended several humanoid figures swimming in a huge shoal. This work was computer controlled and interactive with its audience.
In early 2016 he created The Electric Platybus for the Kulin based Blazing Swan festival. This joyful sculpture was essentially a 9meter long glowing yellow platypus with an extensive sound stage and internal illumination. The mobile limbs tail and head moved with the music. The creation was very much part of the community and was built with this as the objective. Toby guided a team of 15 people to create this work.
Winner of City of Swan Sculpture Award for exhibition Observing the Human Form 2010.
2012 Major private collection in WA
2012 Artbank WA
2013 “Ariel” Perth Modern School
2013 York sculpture park
April 2016 “The Electric Platypus” Blazing Swan Festival
March 2016 A Stray Alien, The Moores Gallery, Fremantle
August 2015 “Primal Dance” Burning Man, Nevada
April 2015 “The Effigy”, “Jonah”, Blazing Swan Festival, WA
Sept 2014 Deloitte Spring Rose Art, St Geoprges Terrace, Perth
Aug 2014 Hale Art, Hale School
May 2014 Gascoyne in May
April 2014 “Portal/Lotus” Blazing Swan,WA
Sept 2013 Spring Rose Art
Aug 2013 Burning Man Festival, Black Rock City, Nevada
July 2013 Hale Art, Hale School
Mar 2013 “The inverted crucifixion” Wesely Cathedral
Mar 2013 “Portal” Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe
Oct 2012 “Nautilus” Sculpture in the Street, Fremantle
Sept 2012 Deloitte Spring Rose Art, St Geoprges Terrace, Perth
Aug 2012 Hale Art, Hale School
July 2012 Push for More Show, Moores Building, Fremantle
Mar 2012 “Caliban” Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe
Aug 2011 Burning Man Festival, Black Rock City, Nevada
July 2011 Hale Art
May 2011 Soroptimist International Auction
May 2011 “Castaways” sculpture by the sea, Rockingham
Feb 2011 “Carnivale” Freight Gallery, Fremantle
Feb 2011 “Floating Bodies” Colourlust Gallery, North Fremantle
Oct 2011 Netto Gallery, San Francisco
Nov 2010 “Drawn Together” Moores Gallery , Fremantle
July 2010 Hale Art
May 2010 Soroptimist International Auction
2009 + 2010 Trinity College
2008 Midland Junction Galleries “Into the Light”