Painting as a Compulsion, Forrest Bess

The Menil Collection in Houston has a Forrest Bess exhibition Seeing Things Invisible. There is/will be an exhibition catalog but I haven't seen it yet. This is the first museum show in twenty years to take present the paintings of the self described "Visionary Painter". Bess primarily lived and worked in the Gulf Coast and died in 1977. Robert Gober curated a collection of Bess' paintings and letters for the 2012 Whitney Biennial that brought together, for the first time, both the paintings and their source material. Robert Boyd reviews the Menil Collection show for Glasstire.

Bess was no formalist. He isn’t trying to arrange colors and shapes in an interesting, aesthetically pleasing way. I see his work as a compulsion, a need to get what he was seeing in his mind down on canvas.  more

Forrest Bess, untitled (1957), 9 7/8 x 14 1/4 inches

Forrest Bess, untitled (The Crowded Mind/The Void) (1947), oil on canvas, 10 x 11 3/4 inches

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