Robert Gober curates a show within a show of Forrest Bess at the Whitney Biennial, and forty-three Bess paintings are currently on view at Christies, NY. This makes for a rare opportunity to consider the strange, reclusive and under-appreciated artist. The Whitney is mostly lamentable in terms of contemporary painting, with the exception of Nicole Eisenman, but Forrest Bess emerges as a figure of considerable interest. His small works have an intensity and persuasiveness that speaks to contemporary artists. He has been associated with artists called ‘visionary’, and he presents images of visions and dreams from the back of his eyelids in an economical language of personal symbolism somewhere between figuration and abstraction. It dares to propose that modest, idiosyncratic and eccentric strategies can produce work, which is deeply compelling and endlessly fascinating.
Posted by Robert Armstrong