Articles tagged with: lesley bell

  • Michael Snow’s work featured at MIWSFPA

    Lesley Bell (BA ’88), former Learning Commons Co-ordinator at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), has been researching the history of Michael Snow’s Timed Images, Frame Three piece that has recently found a new home at the School.


    (From The Brock News, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    Just in time for Culture Days this weekend, the work of internationally regarded artist Michael Snow has found a new home at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    Previously installed in the C-Block of Brock’s Mackenzie Chown Complex, Snow’s Timed Images, Frame Three, can now be viewed on the second floor of the Walker School.

    “Having the work of such a culturally significant artist on display in our building promotes interaction and connection between our two Brock campuses and with the community,” said MIWSFPA Director Elizabeth Vlossak. “The piece inspires us to remember our history, both as a university and a city, as we look ahead to the future.”

    Framed within a mirror, the photograph features a staged image of then-President James A. Gibson, Professor Ian Shaw, Brock student Anna Bernardo, Professor Peter Peach (seen as a mirror reflection) and Students’ Union Vice-President Fred Ford. They are photographed walking in front of a mirror frame that still hangs on the wall in D-Block today.

    Frame Three is part of a larger installation that Snow created for Brock University during the construction of the Mackenzie Chown Complex in 1972. Working with architect Raymond Moriyama, Snow created a number of multimedia pieces that interacted with one another in various locations around the building.

    When the installation was active, a video camera placed across the hallway captured footage of anyone walking by Frame Three, and then transmitted that footage to a live-feed video monitor further down the hallway.

    Lesley Bell (BA ’88), former Learning Commons Co-ordinator at the MIWSFPA, has been conducting extensive research on the installation. She said the work was ahead of its time, with technological elements that undoubtedly sparked the interest of students on campus at that time.

    “I wonder if Snow knew how much fun it would be for students — I imagine it would have been a gas,” she said of the installation. “People tell me that students would look at themselves in one frame and then run down the hall to see themselves in another one, making whoever is going by a part of the installation.”

    Bell is also working with a videographer to complete a documentary about the work, its rich history at Brock and its commentary on the sweeping changes many universities were undergoing at that time.

    Scott Henderson, Associate Professor in Communication, Popular Culture and Film, has also done his own research on the installation, even taking his students on popular “Snow Walks” to introduce them to Snow’s work and foster discussion on the ideas explored within his pieces.

    “In this photo, there is a beautiful layering of people, and that’s reflective of the way that knowledge constantly builds and of its fluidity,” he said of Frame Three. “I imagine the work to relate to the notion of a student arriving with their preconceptions of who they are, who they will encounter and how that constantly changes. Their time is fleeting, but they have become part of the broader history, and whatever they said or did adds to the knowledge base of the University in the future.”

    Although the installation no longer functions as it once did, Henderson argues that it remains as relevant today as when it was first installed.

    “We could be disappointed by the decay of Timed Images, except that it is a piece about time and its impact on us,” explained Henderson. “The natural transformation of change is that the piece itself has decayed, which works exactly with what the piece wanted to say. It invites that discussion about our history and having it on display at the MIWSFPA allows it to still function the way it was meant to function, to remind us that time is constantly moving.”

    Snow is an internationally-regarded filmmaker, sculptor, visual artist and musician who has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Order of Canada and a Doctor of Laws degree from Brock University in 1974.

    His work has been presented at museums and galleries around the world and is perhaps best known locally for Flight Stop at the Toronto Eaton Centre (1979) and The Audience (1988-89) at the SkyDome (now Rogers Centre).

    Timed Images, Frame Three is currently installed in the MIWSFPA, with viewings taking place Friday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 30 from 1 to 5 p.m., as part of Culture Days, and any time during normal school operating hours.

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  • Beloved Visual Arts staffer inspires Art History award

    Lesley Bell, right, sits with Visual Arts Chair Donna Szőke, one final time in the Learning Commons at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts before Bell’s retirement. The department marked her retirement with the creation of the Lesley Bell Award, to be presented to the Art History student entering third year with the highest average.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)
    When you walk into the Learning Commons at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), you are greeted by the always-smiling face of Lesley Bell.

    The long-time Co-ordinator enthusiastically helps students, staff and faculty alike on their quests for knowledge, is always eager to explain how a piece of software works and has no shortage of stories to share about art, the University or life in general.

    It is her passion for the work that she does, and for the people she works with, that inspired the Visual Arts Department to pay tribute to Bell’s legacy with a student award named in her honour.

    Created in recognition of her retirement at the end of August, the new Lesley Bell Award will be presented annually to the third-year History of Art and Visual Culture major with the highest average.

    Donna Szőke, Chair of the Visual Arts Department, said the award is a fitting way to recognize student accomplishment as well as Bell’s time with Brock, both academically and professionally.

    “Lesley has been an invaluable resource to our department,” she said.  “Her constant generosity of spirit, curiosity and kindness has touched the lives of the many students, instructors and staff of Visual Arts, as well as Brock as a whole. We celebrate Lesley with this award.”

    Bell, who has been employed with Brock for 34 years, is the longest-serving staff member in the Visual Arts Department.

    She remembers her journey through the ranks at Brock fondly, starting from her decision to enrol as a student in 1983.

    While working part time as a waitress, Bell would always share her love of the arts with her coworkers. As a mature student in her 30s, however, she was skeptical about going back to school.

    After some prodding from coworkers — and realizing there was a night class at Brock that she could attend which wouldn’t interfere with her work schedule — she decided to enrol.

    “I started an art history class with Sylvia Osterbind, a fine arts librarian who also taught the Art History course for a fledgling program in History and Studio Arts at Brock,” Bell recalled. “Sylvia was a formidable teacher. I sat at the back of the class and watched her stride in front of two projected images of ancient art in her sensible shoes, waving her pointer and lecturing with her succinct German accent.”

    From that point on, Bell was “hooked.” She would close down the bar, working until the wee hours of the morning, and then wake up for early morning seminars.

    “I suddenly noticed ‘classical’ architectural elements on the buildings on St. Paul Street when riding the bus home from Brock, and I met some people who are still important friends,” she recalls fondly. “I started Brock thinking I was not smart enough for university, but that course showed me that I had a mind that could ask questions, and I had eyes that could see the creative world around me.”

    After graduating with an Honours B.A. in Visual Arts from Brock University in 1988, Bell then continued her studies and earned a Master of Library Science degree from Western University in 1993.

    From there, she returned to the place where it all started and began working at Brock as a Visual Arts resource co-ordinator.

    Over time, her job would evolve to include oversight of the Brock University Art Collection and the former Sean O’Sullivan Art Gallery on the main campus.

    Bell would eventually conceive and help design the Learning Commons in the new MIWSFPA building in downtown St. Catharines, where her duties expanded to include managing the equipment kiosk and supervising student monitors. She constantly worked to develop opportunities for the space to further benefit students and the community, and never stopped striving to make it a more inclusive place to study and congregate.

    Bell is not one to boast about her accomplishments or bask in the spotlight, however. Especially, she says, when she was simply “doing her job.”

    But when it comes to the student award in her honour, she is proud that her legacy will serve to inspire future students to also pursue their passions.

    “I don’t know if I can say this emphatically enough: this award means more to me than the decades of service to Brock and is a legacy that actually stuns me,” she said. “We are all here because of the students that we train, nurture and mentor.  However, we seldom get a chance to know that we ‘make a difference.’ So, it is deeply significant to me to be given this gift from the department.”

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