This week’s Studio Sunday artist is Forrest Bess. Bess was an American painter originally from Texas. In his art practice, Bess was best known for eccentric, abstract paintings that expressed a complex philosophy of the artist’s own construction.
Bess’ studio pictured here isn’t exactly a traditional painting studio, but it is the space where Bess created many of his artworks. The artist was a noted recluse and spent much of his life living on an isolated strip of land near Bay City, Texas, where he worked as a commercial fisherman and painted in his spare time.
There’s something both encouraging and slightly lonely about this photo -- it’s pleasant to be reminded that notable fine art can be created anywhere, not necessarily just in huge, warehouse-like studios. Bess, for his part, looks quite serene in the photo.
Bess’ most creative and prolific period is generally thought to have been in the late 1940s through 60s. During this time the artist was represented by New York gallerist Betty Parsons, who produced several solo shows of Bess’ work. While the artist was largely forgotten after his death in 1977, recent retrospective shows have renewed interest in Bess’ paintings.