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Studio Sunday: Gladys Nilsson

A photograph of Gladys Nilsson with Jim Nutt in her studio


Gladys Nilsson is an American painter who is associated with the Hairy Who Chicago Imagists, an art group who in the 1960s and 70s opted to created representational art despite the overwhelming industry trend toward abstraction.  Nilsson is pictured here with Jim Nutt, her husband and fellow member if the Hairy Who.


Nilsson’s studio is in her home, and houses her own artwork as well as artwork by Nutt and a few other artists – presumably friends of the pair. It’s quite the canvas storage space they have behind them in the above photo – I wonder if these are finished works, or works-in-progress that Nilsson can pull out and work on at will.


On the left side of the photograph there’s an easel with a work by Nilsson in progress. I wonder if the larger white paper behind the small painting will eventually be a blown up version of that sketch, or if it’s reserved for a different purpose.


The studio space overall has a somewhat business-like mood to it, and it seems more akin to the studios of illustrators like Alan Lee or Fia Cielen. Perhaps it’s something about the representational, smaller-scale style that Nilsson works in that facilitates a slightly different kind of lighting and layout than the large, minimalist spaces of abstract painters and sculptors.


Nilsson’s work is represented by Garth Greenan Gallery in New York. She has tended toward watercolor painting since the mid-1960s, and today continues her obsession with that medium, though she sometimes also incorporates collage into her works. 

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About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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