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The Big Girl

Gladys Nilsson


watercolor on paper

60" x 40 1/4"

In Big Girl, a tall woman stands poised as one of her eyes peers at the cats nesting in her hair as if she’s barely registered their presence. Alongside her, a group of tiny characters (some barely dressed) busily float on a crowded river. Through the juxtaposition of these figures and scenes, Nilsson mirrors the satirical comedies of Preston Sturges: “. . . you have your main thrust of the scene, but if you've seen the film enough and you really start to dive into it, you become aware of the fact that way in the background there's something else being set up. And you start paying attention to that and you realize that there is a lot more there than what meets the eye.”


The Bill McClain Collection of Chicago Imagism