Big Women, Bigger Heads is the latest body of work by Jane Fisher. This show marks a further refinement of her figurative focus, presenting a balanced argument for both the human and technical appeal of figurative paintings.
Central to the show are seven large paintings of heads. Originally conceived of as a suite, they depict the heads of two different men, one deadpan, and one overwrought. Their heads fill nearly all of their respective canvases, and seem to exist without context. While the scale of these paintings suggests an obvious comparison to the work of Chuck Close, the emphasis on the character of her subjects shows a different intent. Rather than treat the subjects as a pretext for abstraction, the human expressiveness of the subjects comes to the fore. The balance between the scale, the facial expressions, and the contrast between the two men depicted elicits a range of responses: Who are these men and what are they reacting to?
In addition to this suite of male heads, there are also paintings of women. The women depicted range in age from preteen to post retirement. While the older women seem unselfconscious, the younger women are happily self-aware. None is wearing much clothing. While this is often used as a springboard for feminist dialectic, that is not the case here. These women are not engaging because they are feminist icons, they are engaging because of their humanity.
With a career spanning over 20 years, Jane Fisher's work has been shown across the country. This show marks her return to Chicago.