“Big Women, Bigger Heads,” painting. The sight of people staring at you can be unnerving, but in Jane Fisher’s show at Packer Schopf the gaze is the draw of the exhibit. One wall of the gallery is lined with portraits of two different men reacting to something we cannot see. The way the man sits within the canvas makes it difficult to pinpoint what is prompting his facial contortions. The expressions are more comical than intriguing, and they do not call for anything more than a casual glance. The series of “bigger heads” seem more like novelty pieces than analytical art pieces. However, the “big women” series is much stronger in context. Each painting on the opposite wall features women posing in full scale and facing the audience. Most of the women are scantily clad but aren’t ashamed of their bodies, the younger women even looking proud or smug of our stares. Their gazes hold more depth than those of the male heads as if they have something to express, and their attitude soars where the men simply contain all the emotion of a driver’s license photo. Despite the difference in messages, Fisher’s technical painting ability is fantastic across the board. The male faces approach realism while retaining a painterly touch. A younger woman’s muscles appear taut while an older woman’s wrinkles contain crevices and shadow. Fisher’s constant talent makes the show worth the visit. (Amy Dittmeier)
Through August 16 at PACKER SCHOPF GALLERY, 942 W. Lake Street, (312)-226-8984.