Gladys Nilsson, a founding member of the Chicago Hairy Who, studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) from 1958 to 1962. Encouraged by one of her professors, Nilsson pursued watercolors, which later became her medium of choice. Highly stylized with distorted figures and accentuated with brilliant colors, Nilsson’s work reflects her interest in playful language — puns and malapropisms — and other incongruities in life. Today, Nilsson teaches at SAIC and continues to be active in Chicago’s art community.
Nilsson is one of the few artists who uses watercolors and has revolutionized the media to produce many large and small pieces. Her amazing control and handling of watercolors contributed to her early success in the 1960’s when she skyrocketed to international fame. Since then, she has had over 200 solo exhibitions, and close to 400 group shows. Nilsson’s new body of work at the John Natsoulas Gallery is very exciting, dealing with a multitude of characters and interesting abstractions.