‘Word Room: The Professor’s Study’ by Bella Kerr

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Bella Kerr, Word Room: The Professor’s Study, 3 minutes, 12 seconds. Created with animator Tim Stokes.


Bella Kerr is a Cardiff-based artist and designer, practicing since 1985. Drawing has provided continuity in a practice that has spanned installation, small-scale multiples, making, photography, film and set design. She has exhibited in a range of contexts from screenings in major London galleries, to museums, and regional galleries. Recent work has been expressed in the form of large-scale installation, written and practice-based research, digital prints and participatory and curatorial work.


Word Room, a sequence of animated text, drawn from a paragraph in Willa Cather’s novel of 1925, The Professor’s House, was first shown at the Spatialising Illustration Symposium, Swansea 2014, in conjunction with a peer-reviewed paper. The passage was considered in previous research, where the study was identified as one of several recurrent images of domestic space found both in visual art and literature. The animated ‘deconstruction’ of the text is not a literary analysis, but a visual exploration of the ‘building’ of a space in words. The choice of this quote was directed by the unusual characteristic of summation of the novel in one paragraph, the simplicity of the language used to express this complexity, and the graphic expression of the room on the page.



Kerr is Chair of the Board of Directors at Mission Gallery, Swansea, and an Honorary Member of the Royal Society of Architects Wales.


Bella Kerr is featured on The Drawing Center’s online gallery as part of an exchange with Mission Gallery in Swansea, UK organized by Amanda Roderick (Director of Mission Gallery, Swansea) and Amber Harper (Assistant Curator of The Drawing Center, New York). The collaboration celebrates Mission Gallery’s New York Season, which celebrates the gallery’s connection with cultural organizations via Residency Unlimited.