Figures big and small inhabit the stunning watercolors Gladys Nilsson made in the late 1980s. It’s unusual to see the medium deployed with the forceful colors and monumental scale of these works, ten of which, all about forty by sixty inches, were on view in this recent show. Each depicts a few central characters framed by planes of color and surrounded by dozens of smaller humanoids who perform routine activities of everyday life, albeit with absurd twists.
In a standout painting here titled The Dicky (1986), five pantless female figures assist a beleaguered man in slipping a pumpkin-orange false shirt-front over his head. As is typical of Nilsson’s style, wiggling limbs weave between each other pell-mell as swathes of color trifurcate the picture plane into three intertwined scenes. The effect is something like a classical frieze viewed through a kaleidoscope, not least because Nilsson’s aqueous pools of richly hued watercolor seem to hum and swish-swash around on the page. (Her virtuosity with watercolor is a subject worth writing about on its own.)
January 17, 2017
Today’s show: “Gladys Nilsson: The 1980s” is on view at Garth Greenan Gallery in New York through Saturday, February 18. The solo exhibition presents a selection of large-scale watercolors produced by the artist between 1984 and 1987, many of which have never been exhibited.
January 13, 2017
Chicago artist and Hairy Who legend Nilsson presents large-scale watercolors produced between 1984 and ’87. Each features figures limned in the artist’s signature pop-funk style.
January 4, 2017
Garth Greenan Gallery has dedicated its program to championing important yet under-appreciated artists from decades past, providing an important service to collectors and art enthusiasts who understand that new discoveries are not the sole provenance of emerging youngsters. This month, they’re exhibiting a group of (largely) never-before-shown watercolors by the painter Gladys Nilsson.