Plymouth to stage final exhibition by ‘the last of the St Ives modernists’

A new exhibition featuring the work of abstract artist Trevor Bell (1930-2017) opens in the Peninsula Arts Gallery at the University of Plymouth on 16 April.

'Trevor Bell: Trans-Form' is the final exhibition Bell worked on before he passed away in November. It features a selection of 11 monumental paintings from the 1990s and 2000s alongside a brand new sound score composed by Jamie Mills.

The exhibition is a partnership between Peninsula Arts and The Box, Plymouth. It is curated by Joseph Clarke, director of the Anima-Mundi gallery in St Ives and will be on display until 26 May.

Described as 'the last of the St Ives modernists', Bell was born in Leeds before moving to Cornwall in 1955. His presence there, along with the likes of Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and Naum Gabo, gave British Art an international reputation.

When he held his first solo exhibition in London in 1958, Patrick Heron described him as ‘the best non-figurative painter’ of his generation. He went on to achieve a great deal including fellowships, scholarships and awards.

Bell's work has been purchased and commissioned by a number of international museums, public and private collections. He also spent 20 years living and working in the United States as a Professor at Florida State University.

Paul Brookes, CEO for The Box, Plymouth said: 

“Showing an exhibition of work by Trevor Bell is a long-held ambition for Plymouth and his large-scale intensely coloured works will provide visitors to the Peninsula Arts gallery with an amazingly visual experience. We are deeply sorry he won't be able to see the exhibition for himself, but hope it will be a fitting tribute to him and show that the vibrancy and energy of his work lives on.”

Peninsula Arts Director Sarah Chapman said: 

“It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to show Trevor Bell’s works in the Peninsula Arts gallery. As an artist of international renown, Bell has an important connection to the South West region and the exhibition will allow us to explore how expansive Bell’s practice was, taking inspiration from movement, dance and sound.”

A series of events inspired by the exhibition will also take place during April and May. These will include talks, gallery tours, yoga sessions and a newly commissioned dance and sound work produced by Jamie Mills, and co-choreographed and performed by Sarah Fairhall and Lois Taylor.

Date: Monday 16 April-Saturday 26 May 
Opening times: Monday-Friday 10:00-17:00, Saturday 11:00-16:00 (closed bank holidays)  
Venue: Peninsula Arts Gallery 
Ticket information: Free admission 

For more information about the exhibition and related event programme visit or

For more information about the Anima-Mundi gallery visit

For more information about Trevor Bell visit

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