For the 2016 edition of The Armory Show, Armory Presents, Garth Greenan Gallery presents a solo-exhibition of both new and historical works by Gladys Nilsson. The works included—two watercolors from 1969 and three large drawings from 2015—are unique within the larger context of Nilsson's oeuvre. Like many of her paintings, they are densely layered and meticulously constructed. They all focus on similar aspects of human sexuality and its inherent ridiculousness. Their female subjects are unabashedly themselves and, as usual, appear calmly indifferent to their many male “admirers.” They are different, however, from the rest of Nilsson's work because of their limited palette. All were created using a maximum of two colors in a variety of tones. Like many of the Hairy Who artists, Nilsson has an extreme case of horror vacui. The works in this presentation, because of their relative restraint, demonstrate the artist—at two very different stages in her career—at perhaps her most elegant. None of the works in this presentation have ever before been exhibited.
Born in Chicago in 1940, Gladys Nilsson studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She first came to prominence in 1966, when she joined five other recent Art Institute graduates (Jim Falconer, Art Green, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum) for the first of a series of group exhibitions called the Hairy Who. In 1973, she became one of the first women to have a solo-exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1990, she accepted a teaching position at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is now a full professor.
Since 1966, Nilsson's work has been the subject of over 50 solo exhibitions, including sixteen at Phyllis Kind Gallery (1970-1979, 1981-1983, 1987, 1991, and 1994, Chicago and New York), and two at The Candy Store (1971 and 1987, Folsom, California). Her work has also been featured in many important museum exhibitions, such as: Human Concern/Personal Torment (1969, Whitney Museum of American Art); Who Chicago? (1981, Camden Art Center, London); Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art (1992, Los Angeles County Museum of Art); Chicago Imagists (2011, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin); and What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present (2014, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence).
Nilsson's work is featured in the collections of major museums around the world, including: the Art Institute of Chicago; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Morgan Library, New York; the Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.
Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to represent Gladys Nilsson.