‘Fathers and Daughters’ Focus of BCK Exhibition

Leland Bell "Family Group with Teapot," 1980.

The BCK Fine Arts Gallery in Montauk presents its next exhibition, “Fathers and Daughters,” from September 16 to October 7. This group exhibition consists of the paintings of two men, Albert Kresch and Leland Bell, who met in New York City in the early 1940s. Accompanying these are the works of their daughters, Temma Bell and Elizabeth Kresch. Born decades apart, these two women followed the career paths shared by both their fathers and mothers.

Leland Bell was born in Cambridge, Maryland in 1922 and died in New York City in 1991. In the early 1940s, he settled in New York City, where he met a group of young painters who were studying with Hans Hoffman. Bell never attended a school, he painted and visited museums and galleries, looked at paintings and read. Several of his paintings in this show are from his figure group.

Albert Kresch “Boats,” 1998.

Like Bell, Albert Kresch, too, was born in 1922 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His family moved to New York in the ’30s. He began studying figure drawing at the Brooklyn Museum, but soon enrolled in the Hans Hoffman School. Among his peers were Bell, Louisa Mattiasdottir (Temma’s mother), Nell Blaine and Robert De Niro Sr. Kresch remains a New York School painter who lives in Brooklyn, and recently celebrated his 98th birthday.

Temma Bell “View from Seltjarnarnes,” 1981.

Temma Bell studied at Boston University, Indiana University, and received a BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art. She was born in New York City and has lived there, as well as upstate New York, Paris, and Reykjavik, Iceland. She has four daughters.
Elizabeth Kresch, a Brooklyn-born painter, grew up steeped in the rich lineages of poetry, art and jazz and started painting in the post punk music and art scene of the 1980s in New York.

This exhibition provides viewers with the opportunity to compare and contrast the paintings of four individuals, each of whom was aware of and functioned in an art rich environment that influenced them in different ways over time. Albert Kresch and Leland Bell were colleagues and close friends, living and working in New York City, each absorbing — adapting or rejecting — the many different European and American influences of the post-World War II years. Their chance meeting led to a close, lifelong friendship.

Elizabeth Kresch, “Pink Still,” 2019.

The families, too, intermingled over the decades. Both daughters had the benefit of being exposed to the artistic movements and controversies that influenced their parents’ generation, along with those that raged in their decades of growth and maturation. Again, each of these next generation painters has been exposed to and accepted, rejected or adapted a myriad of movements, philosophies, styles and subject matters.

Here, in “Fathers and Daughters,” is a small sample of the results, stretching from the 1940s to the current year. The show opens with an outdoor reception on Thursday, September 17, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. BCK Fine Arts Gallery is at 87 South Euclid Avenue, Montauk.