Chicago

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, skirting the muddy edges of perversion, taboo, and violence, constituted an intense and unrelieved examination of pubic life. In these images, woman appears as shrew and virago, temptress and seducer. The excesses of those years have now substantially abated, or, at the very least, have been redirected

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