The InFlux Series: Will Cotton

March 12 – June 5, 2016 - Mr. and Mrs. Chesley G. Magruder Gallery I

Presented here is the first ever exhibition examining artist Will Cotton’s entire working process, from concept sketch, to costumes, to prints and paintings. Cotton is known for depicting an astonishing world, composed of an abundance of sugary sweets. Figures pose languidly in settings where landscapes are cakes and icing, seas are whipped cream and clouds are cotton candy. These appear to be utopian realms where all desires are indulged without guilt or consequence. The flawless naturalism with which Cotton renders this idealized world makes it both more seductive and more remote from ordinary experience.

It is important for Cotton that the world he has created is convincing on its own terms. In the past several years, Cotton has explored the question of what women might wear in this confectionary paradise. To that end, Cotton has focused on solitary female figures posed in a variety of distinctive clothing designs he has created using the materials available in a world where everything is made of sweets (frosting, sugar bags, cotton candy, cupcakes). Though their attire may be absurd to those bound to commonplace reality, tiaras of lollipops, hats of French macarons and gowns of whipped cream are all haute couture in Cotton’s world.

While Cotton’s fantastic subject matter is visually arresting, his work is made more compelling by the beauty of his draftsmanship and painterly techniques. This can be seen in a number of preparatory drawings that range from quick sketches of details on a dress to fully developed oil studies that are the basis of finished paintings and prints. His process of refining ideas with drawings and maquettes is similar to the preparations made by painters in centuries past.

Cotton’s prowess as a draftsman was perhaps one reason that Pace Prints invited him to try lithography in 2010. Lithography is a printmaking process that is perfectly suited to capturing the beautiful qualities of line and tone that characterize Cotton’s drawings. Since then, Cotton has developed a passion for lithography and produced a significant body of work in the medium. Following this passion, he came to Flying Horse Editions (FHE), the fine arts press of the University of Central Florida in 2015. While at FHE, he produced three editioned prints. One of these, Candy Crown, was commissioned by ArtNews for the cover of its summer 2015 edition.

This exhibition has been organized by the Orlando Museum of Art. The Museum would like to thank the artist and lenders for generously lending work to the exhibition. The Orlando Museum of Art is also grateful to the organizations and individuals whose on-going support for the Museum’s programing has made this exhibition possible.

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- installation 1 - installation 2

Elle with Cupcakes

Elle with Cupcakes

Will Cotton

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Icing

Will Cotton

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Icing

Will Cotton

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Frosting Basket Dress

Will Cotton

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Earrings

Will Cotton

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Deferred Promise

Will Cotton

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Whipped Cream Study

Will Cotton

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Ginger Whipped Cream

Will Cotton

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Heart Crown (E. Fanning)

Will Cotton

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Lollipop Crown

Will Cotton

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Macaron Hat

Will Cotton

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