The works have been curated by Bartholomew F. Bland, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Hudson River Museum. Cotton is known for his works which encapture utopians composed of sweets, pastries and melting ice cream. His flawed utopians often centre around a pinup style model. He is also known for his artistic direction role in producing Katy Perry's 2010 music video California Gurls and his 2010 portrait of the pop starlet entitled Cupcake Katy which is currently on view at The National Portrait Gallery, Washington.

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Installation View - Will Cotton, Ronchini Gallery, 25 June - 9 August 2014 (7)

 

One work in the exhibition entitled Beyond the Pleasure Principle is inspired by the Rococo artist François Boucher's work The Setting of the Sun, is an example of Cotton's references to European 18th Century masters. Boucher's original can be seen at the Wallace Collection.

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Will Cotton, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 2014, Oil on linen, 80x108 inches

 

In Cotton's pieces sweets become a substitute for everything desirable and a metaphor for pure pleasure. He explains: ''Sweetness taken to an extreme degree, as it is in my paintings, becomes cloying, even repulsive and that's where it gets interesting for me.'' The artist is keen, however, not to execute his concept in a ''silly'' way. Instead his works have an intense believability to them, as if the subject in The Deferred Promise of Complete Satisfaction could well be seen to be wearing a hat fashioned out of delicate Laduree macaroons.

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Will Cotton, The Deferred Promise of Complete Satisfaction, 2014, Oil on linen, 37x28 inches

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Installation View - Will Cotton, Ronchini Gallery, 25 June - 9 August 2014 (2)

Cotton starts his process by building maquettes in his New York studio to paint from. The process enables the artist to recreate texture and details in such a way that viewing the works becomes a tactile experience. One could almost touch and feel the soft cotton candy flurry in The Coming Storm. The title is a reference to a popular subject of 19th and early 20th century landscape painting in which the sublime force of nature is represented by a threatening sky. Cotton explains how he works on two pieces at once, he happily transitions his style between portraiture and the abstract style seen in Persistence of Desire 3. He applied a mixture of oil paint and wax using a pastry bag and other cake decorating tools. This extremely rich piece explores cake decoration as a form of adornment and objects that exist purely for pleasure. The small Ronchini show reflects his modest output of six to eight paintings a year, plus four portraits, the result of working without assistants.

With credit to Will Cotton, Ronchini Gallery, London, 25 June – 9 August, ronchinigallery.com

All images are courtesy of the artist, Mary Boone Gallery, New York and Ronchini Gallery, London.

 

 

 

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