Gladys Nilsson

You and Jim [Nutt] have a significant collection of work by self-taught artists, such as Martín Ramírez and Joseph Yoakum. What draws you to that kind of work?

The work that interests me is by people who have a need to explain or explore or put down what they have to get out. They aren’t stopping because they don’t have formal training. They’re following their thread without worrying about it.

(Jonathan Griffin, “She Painted With the Hairy Who. Now She’s Going Big, at 79,” NYTimes, 1-30-20)

The above response by Nilsson to the question posed is profoundly uninformative, and therein lies its charm.

Her psychedelic, cartoonish paintings grow on me entertainingly. In this one I enjoy how the two men hold the canvas for the naked painter as she airily attacks her picture with a hook shot. The fellows’ packages are blatantly apparent, and they watch the diva carefully, alert to her every evolving requirement.

In the following one I resonate to the bug-eyed intensity with which the puckishly enbosomed female surveys the tiny floating homo-tadpole.

Nilsson’s painting is cleanly of the sportive sort to me. I have no idea what to make of it other than as something at which to have a clean, bug-eyed look without worrying about it (as she might say).

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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