Will Cotton

Selected Work


Cotton Exhibitions
Will Cotton

Selected Press


Let them be cake. That’s the principle at work in Will Cotton’s new paintings of women adorned by and embodying confectionary delights. A glut of empty calories, Cotton’s show at Michael Kohn offends on multiple levels, but most egregiously by simply being  bland.

Some artists find inspiration in pop singers: Andy Warhol replicated Elvis Presley in silkscreens; Jeff Koons immortalized Michael Jackson in porcelain sculptures; and Jim Dine collaborated with the Beatles. For New York-based artist Will Cotton, the pop muse appears to be Katy Perry, the 26-year-old singer-songwriter (and wife of Russell Brand) whose albums include "Teenage Dream" and "One of the Boys."

New York painter Will Cotton hasn't lost his sweet tooth. In his most recent paintings and drawings, Cotton's predilection for situating female nudes in settings fashioned from candy and frosted cake leads to dream-like reveries. That Double as both childhood fantasies and formal meditations on beauty. His large scale oils on linen are feather-light and his smaller chalk-on-paper sketches are solid and heavy objects; but overall he seems inspired by Freud's pleasure principle in producing these objects of the id's desire. Cotton's work is in line with theories of subconscious expression, especially if by pleasure one means beauty. Though he can go to far for his relish for the sickly sweet, and the sumptuous visual richness he concocts can be nearly unbearable in works like Spumoni Stream (2005), for the most part Cotton's art is intelligent and complex to a degree that transcends the trap of empty calories.

Curriculum Vitae

1965 Born in Melrose, Massachusetts
Lives and works in New York, NY

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