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Studio Sunday: Forest Bess

A photo of Forest Bess at work in an outdoor studio of a kind


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.

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About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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