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Mentor and Advocate
Mentor and Advocate

Muriel Bell was born in Kenora, Ontario . Graduating from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto in 1964, she was then employed in New Brunswick as staff designer in government and private business until 1978, working in residential and corporate interior design and decoration, and detailing early New Brunswick furnishings for historical records.

In 1978 Muriel began painting in a non-commercial venue, then engaged in numerous solo and group exhibitions. She uses a wide range of mixed media techniques as well as traditional methods. The death of her eighteen year old son, to cancer, in 1993, has deeply influenced the nature of her work. Currently represented by Gallery 78 in Fredericton, Muriel Bell's work is included in the permanent collections of the University of New Brunswick, CFB Gagetown, the New Brunswick Art bank, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, St. Thomas University Third Age Centre, and the Province of New Brunswick.

“Creativity is the flow of life” Bell says. In listening deeply to one's intuitive nature, one finds strength of expression, of spirit. She calls her work, both abstract and representational, her spiritual vocabulary.


Muriel Bell's paintings: Inspired by Muriel McQueen Fergusson

The Muriel McQueen Fergusson artworks were completed as part of her solo exhibition about older adults: A Time of Our Lives. Opening at UNB Art Centre in Fredericton, it traveled to Ward-Chipman Library and Gallery at UNBSJ, then The Andrew and Laura McCain Gallery in Florenceville.

The portrait of Senator Fergusson was created from the only photograph Bell had taken on the day of the interview with Fergusson. Providentially, it was a photograph of an eloquent subject. In her concentration on other aspects of the interview, Bell had forgotten to check her camera and found herself with one frame left and no flash.

Muriel Bell found Muriel McQueen Fergusson to have a cogent presence. She was gracious, sharp minded, tenacious, direct, small in stature, modest, and resolute. During the meeting, Senator Fergusson generously gave her time and attention to answering questions about her life and her accomplished career. Their conversation left Muriel Bell compelled to know more about the extent of her achievements: determined that a portrait of this great lady should be accompanied by an additional tribute to her life's work.

Bell was granted permission, by Senator Muriel McQueen Fergusson, to open biographical files which were to be sealed until her death, at the New Brunswick Provincial Archives. Bell was overwhelmed with the extent of Senator Fergusson's influence, involvement and commitment as she became immersed in the files. In response to what she saw and felt, Bell used uncluttered sensitive line to convey truth and strength. She created the portrait; “Mentor and Advocate” and the inspirational piece; “Illuminator: Justice and Women's Initiative” which the Foundation affectionately calls “Muriel's Mission”.

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