Before you catch Magritte at the Museum of Modern Art this month, take a look at the contemporary version of Surrealist painting: Gladys Nilsson and Julia Benjamin. Gladys Nilsson (born 1940) has long been associated with a group of artists known as the Chicago Imagists, a moniker that belies the utter goofy-strangeness of her work, and that of her husband, Jim Nutt. Her watercolor and gouaches introduce a cast of characters from a pre-modern village, embedded within densely-realized landscapes of preening trees and tottering flowers. The gooey-lyrical abstract oil paintings of Julia Benjamin (born 1984) share Nilsson’s obsession with figures in space. In Benjamin’s case, strokes and dabs of color people the canvas and oddly mirror Nilsson’s skewered compositional style. Installed side-by-side, the paintings speak to each other as two-sides of the same story.
Gladys Nilsson / Julia Benjamin is on view until October 20, 2013 at the National Exemplar. The gallery is located at 381 Broadway at White Street, 2nd Floor, and is open Thursday to Sunday, 2 to 7 PM. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org