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Bess Frelinghuysen Ratliff, was born and raised in New York City. She has worked in film, marble and, most enduringly, pastel. Since her early days as an artist, she has enjoyed working with her hands (and not a paint brush), reveling in the vibrant color and textural depths pastels provide. Bess now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, three children and many pets.

Bess has had three solo shows,  in New York City at Treillage, in Los Angeles at Gallery 169, and in the Hamptons, NY at the Quogue Library. These shows featured her pastel feathers, originally conceived as an evocation of a song.


Bess has a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from Columbia University in film. A Medieval and Renaissance Studies major at Vassar, Bess has used this era to mine much inspiration. Her work in film at Columbia , with its emphasis on storytelling, has greatly influenced her fine art and inspired a determination to redeem illustrative art.  

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