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Gladys Nilsson

Honk! Fifty Years of Painting

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Interview by Alison Gingeras

Gladys Nilsson: Honk! Fifty Years of Painting features one hundred full-color plates and is the most comprehensive monograph on the artist’s work to date.

Nilsson is one of the original members of the Hairy Who, the group of six artists from Chicago who exhibited their bold and irreverent figurative work together from 1966 to 1969. The earliest works in this book, which pre-date the Hairy Who, depict brightly colored figures in enigmatic scenarios. In 1966 Nilsson began painting on Plexiglas, applying paint to the opposite side so that it could be seen through the clear plastic, as in Very Worldly (1967), which abounds with hundreds of characters of every conceivable size and shape. Nilsson returned to painting on canvas in the early 1970s, and most of her paintings from this time are anchored by a single protagonist, like the two panels of Dipped Dick: Adam and Eve after Cranach (1971).

After a hiatus of more than thirty years, during which she mostly worked in watercolor, Nilsson returned to painting on canvas. The second half of this volume is devoted to her exuberantly colored recent paintings, which are, as one critic wrote, “packed with formal intelligence, a continuous humming energy, graphic control, offbeat humor, and layers of tenderness.”

176 pages
112 images
9 x 10 1/2 inches; 23 x 27 cm

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