Rachel Bess

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Rachel Bess
Rachel Bess in her studio
Born 1979
Nationality American
Education Arizona State University
Known for Painting

Rachel Bess (born c. 1979)[1] is an American artist working out of Phoenix, Arizona.


She got her BFA in Painting from the Honors College at Arizona State University in 2001. She taught Life Drawing and Painting at New School for the Arts and Academics in Tempe, Arizona from 2002-2007 before leaving academia to paint full-time.[2]

Bess is known for her highly realistic, sometimes surrealistic, baroque-style oil paintings on panel.[1] Her work has drawn comparisons to that of the Dutch Masters,[3] as well as to certain subgenres of the lowbrow art movement.

In 2014 she was awarded the Arlene and Morton Scult Contemporary Forum Artist Award (the Contemporary Forum is a support organization of the Phoenix Art Museum).[4]

Bess prepared a series of paintings to exhibit at Art Miami 2016. They consisted of paintings of rotting fruit, a subject she'd been working on for several years, which are a comment on the human body, aging, and death.[5] In December 2016 she was awarded a $5000 grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which she intended to use to support four months of research into underpainting.[6]

Currently Bess helps to organize the Phoenix branch of Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School, and writes/illustrates a comic book titled, "Fighting Death Through Reanimation".

Bess was represented by Perihelion Arts in downtown Phoenix,[7] prior to representation by the Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix.[8][5]

She is also an expert in rearing urban chickens[9] and has published a handbook on the subject, "Fowl Play".[10]

Notable exhibitions[edit]

Selected Solo Shows [11]

2015. Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona[12]

2014. Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona[13]

2012. Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona

2011. Perihelion Arts, Phoenix, Arizona


  • Copro Gallery, Los Angeles, California
  • Perihelion Arts, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Rodger LaPelle Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


  • Copro Gallery, Los Angeles, California
  • Perihelion Arts, Phoenix, Arizona

2008. Cattle Track Arts Compound, Scottsdale, Arizona

2007. Trinity Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. May.

2006. Modified Arts, Phoenix, Arizona. November–December.

2005. Casa Grande Museum of Art, Casa Grande, Arizona. January–February.


  1. ^ a b Ashlea Deahl (August 19, 2004). "Studio Visit: Disturbed Beauty". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  2. ^ Belden, Thomas. "ASU grad Rachel Bess brings her eclectic artwork to Central’s Visual Arts Gallery". Central Arizona College. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Holden, Wynter (May 7, 2009). ""Divining Nature" Puts Rachel Bess' Interests in the Darker Side of Life on Display at Perihelion Arts". Phoenix New Times. 
  4. ^ "Studio Visit: Disturbed Beauty". Scottsdale Independent. Scottsdale, Arizona. April 8, 2015. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  5. ^ a b Mikey Estes (July 15, 2015). "Rachel Bess on Visceral Beauty and How Marina Abramovic's Art Is Like MMA". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  6. ^ Lynn Trimble (December 22, 2016). "These 17 Artists Won Grants from Arizona Commission on the Arts". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  7. ^ D'Andrea, Niki (July 20, 2011). "Painter Rachel Bess Moves from Perihelion Arts to Lisa Sette Gallery". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2017-03-31. 
  8. ^ "Lisa Sette Gallery Homepage". 
  9. ^ Charlie Jannetto (September 9, 2009). "Phoenix residents can learn to raise urban chickens". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  10. ^ Lilia Menconi (July 26, 2010). "Urban Chickens in Phoenix & Rachel Bess". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  11. ^ "Bio". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Rachel Bess exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum". 
  13. ^ "Lisa Sette Gallery Guide" (PDF). 

External links[edit]