Painting of the Day

16 Feb

Room Service - Michael Bell

Room Service. by Michael Bell (born 1971). Oil on canvas, 2008.

Notes from

In “Ticket to Ride” Michael Bell created a cinematic painting series as a journey through one woman’s harrowing search for redemption, only nothing inspires redemption quite like revenge.

“Room Service” is the second of nine large-format mixed-media paintings that range from emotionally-driven portraits as allegories reminiscent of dramatic film-stills to dark, ambiguous hotel room scenes and metropolitan landscapes on 60″ X 60″ canvases overlaid with mixed-media subway maps painted into the background of each work.

Bell’s narrative strategy is for the viewer to question how much of Ticket to Ride is just a dream, and how much is rooted in reality. Its major movement is the journey taken by an Italian Femme Fetale that begins on a New York City subway platform in Scene 1, “The Transfer” as she awaits her metaphorical “train” and her journey continues — painting by painting — like a roller coaster ride through her mind.

In Scene 2, “Room Service” we enter a dimly lit hotel room with a smoking gun and lit cigarette positioned on a table next to a half-eaten breakfast at daybreak, suggesting a hitman as the second character introduced into this nine part narrative.

My comments:

This is one of my favorite paintings in the nine-part series, and since I’m working on a still life for my studio art class this week I’ve been thinking a lot about still lifes and so I think it appeals to me for that reason as well. I love the way the artist has let the paint sort of drip in lines under the table. Looking at it, it’s hard to tell whether he actually painted the entire line or just let the paint fall. What’s cool about this painting is that even though it’s obvious that it is not a photograph, the way the artist has painted it has really turned it into an artwork while still preserving its display of the artist’s technical skill in drawing real life objects. Even though this is a very macabre subject matter, Bell uses a lot of light in the image, a kind of light that reminds me of what comes in through the window on rainy days. I’m also curious in this painting as to what that splash-like piece is that is peeking out from under the plate at the corner of the table.

One Response to “Painting of the Day”

  1. tara February 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Very much of the Film Noir genre

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