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BAMPFA Presents Works of Forrest Bess

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This Wednesday, the Berkeley Art Museum will present an exhibition from one of art’s minimalist but abstracted painters.

Titled Seeing Things Invisible, the exhibition features the work of Forrest Bess (1911-1977), whose small but powerful abstract paintings draws on vocabulary of simple biomorphic shapes and symbols, in which the artist himself have developed over the years from recurring visions. The timeline of the featured paintings spans from the late 1940s to the 1970, and will also include an installation of archival materials titled the Man That Got Away, and it is an illumination of Bess’s art and life.

In a little information about Forrest Bess, he grew up in a Texas town called Bay City. Although he would go on to work as a commercial fisherman, he painted in his spare time, with the concepts of his works coming from shapes that the artist would see in his dreams. Those paintings would soon find it’s way to prominent dealer Betty Parsons, who would organize several solo exhibitions of his works in her New York gallery from 1950 to 1967. Bess never became as well known as other modern artists including Judy Chicago, Cindy Sherman or Bruce Nauman, but his reputation gradually grew following his death in 1977, as his works reached other venues in America including the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Forrest Bess exhibition is on view until September 14th.


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