2/22/2006

Will Cotton

54 comments:

Dirk said...

The things I have to say about this painter's paintings are not good and I suspect I am not alone. What I am looking for is a case to be made in his defense. Can anyone provide one? I look at his slick surfaces and pre-programmed imagery and have no appreciation, no feeling, nothing. Girls and confections are what I have seen from him. What is the story? The world is a glossy place, subject to domination and transformation by room temperature? An impenetrable place with no substance, only looks? I don't know. I am really trying.

fairy butler said...

Hey, where are the boobs?

mountain man said...

FB, this is a giant head of cock painting. There are no need for boobs here. Just rainbow colored heads and seepage.

Anonymous said...

stoops quadroops...

triple diesel said...

Yes, a lot of the paintings feature oozing, glistening cum stains. And fit nudes. But maybe there's a charm to such sweet, uncomplicated eroticism? Looks good, tastes good: no conflict here! Idealistic! And dig that varnish.

Anonymous said...

Carl, come one, give us a little more.

Anonymous said...

I meant come on. Not come one.

w.w. said...

i need something salty now.

carl carlson said...

meh.

Anonymous said...

people actually get upset almost resentful when an artist represents an aspect of sweetness and light. interesting reaction. i wonder if is a common reaction to this painter? hmmmm! makes me think this work may be more evocative than i first thought

sloth said...

Love the confection paintings (not so crazy about the nudes); they are literally delicious eye-candy. Also a perfect metaphor for a decadent society just beginning to decline... the party is in late hours, things don't look so fresh anymore.

I have never been to a sloppy candy orgy, but a girl can dream, right?

ck said...

Okay, here goes. With the obvious 'girlie pics' such as 'Cotton Candy Clouds', 'ice cream cavern', etc. - they are such an ultimate dumb guy fantasy...the women are objectified in so obvious a manner...It's almost self-deprecating for a guy to put these out there, and I find that weirdly charming.I have the same reaction I have to some Iggy Pop lyrics...they are delightfully stupid. I am female and find most sexual innuendo annoying, especially in art. I kinda like these paintings(and Iggy Pop).

triple diesel said...

I agree, sloth. They are delicious. They seem like Bouguereau: sentimental and unchallenging, but seamlessly painted with great care.

fairy butler said...

sloth, I agree - much prefer the sweets. total eye candy. willy wonka land. somehow the ladies just push it to far for me.?

mountain man said...

In decline, in slow motion melt, these are the ideas, it makes sense. Sweetness is good, idealism in disappearance is good. Maybe there is self-deprecation too, I had never thought of it that way. The slickness only bothered me with the girls, I agree with FB on that. Otherwise, it's so dreamy. But the girls makes sense as a thing to be wanted, like candy...Triple Diesel, the Bougerou reference is right on.

Anonymous said...

Loss and sadness, inability to connect with what's being depicted. Depiction as subject? Failure of depiction to grasp the object of desire in spite of megawatt skills?

Anonymous said...

screenhead.com did a feature on cotton last fall i liked @ screenhead.com/funny/the-art-of-will-cotton-111620.phb

mountain man said...

Let's lick our computer screens instead, maybe that would be just as interesting and less toxic?

w.w. said...

yeah, desire depicted. i guess that gives relevance to the length of time required to paint them (i'm inferring, but they look painfully time consuming, like a long courtship)... think he licks them when he's done? or during? i would want to lick them.

Anonymous said...

my first reaction was vargas meets dali at a wayne thiebaud confectionary party. but now i'm more interested. Ice Cream Cavern is not just meticulous painting it does draw you in to a thought process. it is very intelligent work not just eye candy that is a come on and turn off for some. stay with it

Anonymous said...

the fact that they are at mary boone hurts them. they should be somewhere less slick.

homer said...

mmmmm... lollies! aahhhgghhghgh...

zipthwung said...

The girls - the Art Nouveau calendar pin-ups remind one of the Willy WOnka wonderment of wandering woefully through wild and wooly caverns, west, wickedly.
I'm all lost in the supermarket, and uh, I'd happily put my head in the oven for a treat.

dr said...

question! does the gallery give meaning to the art or does the art give meaning to the gallery?

Anonymous said...

well i think they aren't very good, but that's no big deal. the thing about cotton for me is, you know, i really wish i had his technical facility. if i could paint that way, well i'd use the ability to make much more interesting paintings. but if i could paint with such finesse and ease, i would be much happier with my own work.
i saw carl carlson up there, hey that's my father in laws name
funny
anyway will cotton, who cares. he's a creamy painter, but for that i prefer to look at fairfield porter or alex katz.

Anonymous said...

and this head of the penis painting reminds me of how incredibly bizarre and unpleasant looking penises are, including my own. although when you meet a girl who thinks it's beautiful it makes it all that more transgressive

Anonymous said...

Double wow. Great honest posts above.

Anonymous said...

i like how people actually try and think and talk about the painter here

Anonymous said...

well if honesty is what you like, i can give you a third honest post, about how i've resumed my addiction to percodan in secret, shopping doctors again and rotating my visist to 5 different pharmacies. it's been shocking to me how easy it has been to resume again total secrecy and deception, keeping it from my wife for the last three weeks. how i'm eating 40 pills a day, 15 at breakfast, and that the lying and duplicity has come back to me as naturally as riding a bicycle. and how the pills have made me anorgasmic, and how this is the one thing i don't know how to lie my way out of , as surely my wife will eventually notice that i'm shooting blanks.

triple diesel said...

That might be better at http://grouphug.us

Anonymous said...

chie fueki at mary boone

Anonymous said...

Anon, I am worried about you. Please accept my sincerest wishes for you to stop hurting yourself in this way.

zipthwung said...

please add some morphine to my tank, thank you.

Oh and the color palette - you know I love complimentary colors - Maxfield Parish, Mucha - you know these are names. But then they were more anal. Not so expulsive.

patsy whine said...

does anyone here over 35 (assuming there is anyone over 35) remember the painter peter schuyff. one of the original neo-geo guys, i enjoyed his work, but it occcurs to me he's sort of disappeared. has anyone heard about him recently?

JD said...

I can't get into these. I guess they're technically good, whatever that means, but I find the paint to be kind of dead-feeling, actually; there's not enough tension or something. I HATE the images of the women: if he's winking knowingly at the male gaze, it's not coming across satirically enough (the way, at least in my opinion, Currin's work does). And the images of candy seem really empty to me; I don't get enough psychological info from the way they're painted. And equating sweets with desire seems a little simplistic to me, at this point. If that is indeed the point.

JD said...

And if I'm looking for fabulous painting about sex and lusciousness full-out, I'll go revel in the Fragonard room at the Frick.

Anonymous said...

patsy, Schuff

Anonymous said...

ugh. horrible.

what are these skills you all keep babbling about?

Anonymous said...

schuyff used to go with elliott puckette. remember her? where'd she go? what happens to the painters at kasmin? they disappear even though they're still there!

Anonymous said...

Yeah like Santi Moix. He is a really interesting painter. I saw one of Elliot Pucket's paintings in The Royal Tenenbaums. Weird. Other than that I haven't seen her work since like 1998.

zipthwung said...

I never get tired of pancackes, as long as there's syrup. I dont kare if its corn syrup or maple syrup. All I care about is syrup on my pancaxkes. And butter. Lots of butter. And bacon is nice. Whipped butter is good, as a ganish from an ice cream scoop. I also like stuff in my pankackes, but I'll save that for another review.

zipthwung said...

I keep trying to find the hidden otter pop, but perhaps that is deeper intot he woods? Just pecking away at the keyboard. SOrry.

ck said...

JD, I'm really stuck on the female representation thingy.

Cotton's depiction of women seems very honest (almost embarrassingly self-revealing) in his ridiculous and objective glorification. He does not denigrate women, he reveals his own childishly idealistic fantasies. It's personal desire, times ten. He is revealing himself (I think), and not making statements (overt or subtle), about women. I can accept this, and even be delighted by the images. It's all ultimately about him.

Fragonard (and the like) hides his fantasy behind an acceptable, 'romantic' depiction that appears to nod respectfully at his subject, as a person. It feels like a statement, or an established standard of representation, directed at me (as a woman).This gets repeated over and over..it's oppressive. And it's still going on in many different ways. It's not openly offensive, but it is very oppressive.

JD said...

CK, interesting points. I still can't help reacting to Cotton's paintings of women as straight-ahead rehashes of 1940's pin up posters or something. I guess I'd give him the benefit of the doubt that he is aware of the cliche's he's referencing and is in some way trying to puncture them, but I think more has to happen, perhaps with the way they're painted, to communicate that. In Currin's work, even though they push buttons and are often hard to take, there's a hard satirical edge (kind of Hogarth-like), and a skewering of his own desires as well as the ways women have been portrayed in art for centuries.

As for Fragonard, I find that the men and women as subjects are treated pretty equally! They're just silly lovebirds (sexbirds?), playing pipes and holding round flower garlands. And surrounded by luscious, orgasmic trees. Also, Fragonard was an 18th century painter: I think there's a different standard now for painting about sex and gender.

ck said...

I'm assuming Cotton is making no attempt at a pervasive social statement, but rather is indulging himself in a way that is so over the top, it's kind of fun. So, oddly enough, my take on him is similar to yours on Fragonard (who I agree, is probably not the best example of the creepy oppression I'm laying on him).

Much as I enjoy the thoughts in my head, I think I'll actually go read a Cotton statement now ;)

I'm still pondering Currin. It's tough for me to get beyond the hostile representations, regardless of his intentions, but I will try.

don't care said...

Balthus.

zipthwung said...

You know Maxfield Parish was used as a reference in one of those Star Wars movies. Star Wars definitely references matine movies of yore. And in that sense - of adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark does too. ANd so, I find these paintings Spielbergian, Lucasian and ultimately, filmic.

Which is funny because I know Will Cotton used to, if not now, make models to paint form, which I saw, which is like totally what people do a lot. Like one time they Blew up a model of the Death Star. I was burning shit for months after that. And then I saw that one show on TV where the credits are rolled over a burning cardboard city. And then I thought, let the kids burn "Rome."

JD said...

yeah, I'm loving the over-the-top sensuality of the Fragonard, and not loving Cotton's. I have to think about this: is it simply that I'm more convinced and thus genuinely seduced by Fragonard's paint?

It's funny, though, thinking about what offends ones' sensibilities or not (r.e. the Currin/Cotton comparison). I wonder if it's about clues that the artist is being tongue-in-cheek, if they choose to be obnoxious. I remember how I felt looking at Currin's gay couple making pasta: genuinely pained at his scorn for them, and also wanting to crack up at the same time: Currin made you identify with his bias, and exposed himself mercilessly at the same time. It was a very uncomfortable experience.

zipthwung said...

stuff the turkey.

Anonymous said...

Cotton's paint is thin. It serves image but does not inhale. There's no getting lost in his candy atmosphere, though there's something fabulous about moving through large candy as if one were a chocolate drip. Frago is wind--his paintings breathe melodiously. The trees are magical. Currin, always snapped too fast for me--it was Yuskavage who made me wonder what precisely I was looking at.

Regi said...

I dont know why you people hate this stuff. Cotton's work would fit in with the tasteful LA scene. Hollywood remakes of the wonka factory, Dr Suess rip offs and porn valley perversions. Some day Cotton's work will be in every hotel room like movies on demand are. The public wants this stuff.

archie said...

yeah, Regi's right.

jughead said...

yeah, gimmie sugar and tits! I can't get enough.

cuca said...

making a career of painting inherently rediculous stuff,albeit with enviable skill,is just empty and perplexing to me