• Jim Nutt

    Phyllis Kind Gallery

    Jim Nutt’s fictive portraits of women don’t originate with actual sitters; they are born of Nutt’s whimsy. Neither real nor ideal, these pictorial extrapolations are curiously introverted and somnolent. Indeed, Nutt’s scrupulous technique imbues these antilovelies with a hermetic seriousness that their absurd physiognomies at first belie. Tension abounds in these manic paintings, augmented by a claustrophobic quality enhanced by their small scale and heavy frames.

    Nutt’s earlier work, which has come to define Chicago Imagism, was replete with paeans of sexual dysfunction; indeed, his scenarios,

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  • Eleanor Spiess-Ferris

    Zaks Gallery

    Though Eleanor Spiess-Ferris immerses her viewers in fully staffed dreamworlds where norms of logic must be surrendered, there is method within her topsy-turvy universe. Spiess-Ferris introduces just enough reality into her pictures to allow her to circumvent it. Indeed, she uses the trappings of existence as a bitter corrosive, turning reality in upon itself.

    Woman as nature, woman as victim, woman as life-giver, woman as indefatigable source or recipient of love, sex, pain, and nurturing—each takes a turn in her cosmology. Spiess-Ferris regularly renders these women with missing limbs or large

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