Zieher Smith & Horton is pleased to present Await what the stars will bring, new paintings by Michael Dotson in his first solo exhibition with the gallery.

The notion of desire has always inspired Dotson’s paintings, where the tension and lust of his previous bodies of work culminate in this new series of paintings. Though initially drawn to figuration in painting from anime characters, Dotson’s practice led him to his most recent series of Disney princesses. This current body further explores Dotson’s Disney heroines while also incorporating other iconic characters from classic animation.

The title, Await what the stars will bring is imbued with implications of longing, fantasy and the ideals of a happy ending that Dotson’s Disney-esque imagery evokes. The subjects in the exhibition embody this ever-after fantasy while simultaneously reflecting their own moments of desperation in fulfillment of their happy endings. Desire as a wish of something to come is the undercurrent that runs through the subject of each painting. At the same time, Dotson instills a more robust sexual desire in his depiction of the objects in his compositions, enlivening the works with a libidinal energy all their own.

In Hold on, Be Strong the focus is on Beast’s human-like claws grasping at the fragile vitrine containing this beautiful object representing the key to his freedom. The fairytale portrays the rose as a mystical object of beauty in his dark world. His inner turmoil is apparent as he lusts after it, protecting it at all costs while loathing the self-reflection and control that it brings. Dotson allows us a glimpse at The Beast’s rapacious grimace, cast in the shadow from the glow of the lush labial folds of the rose as it hovers just beyond the fragile glass he clutches, it’s juicy segments begging to be touched. Hold on, Be Strong’s title encourages the beast to pause as the girth of his mammoth hands would surely shatter the dome he encapsulates and allow the torrent of desire to overwhelm.

Dotson cleverly echoes the storyboard theme of the good vs. evil in his subject's quest to their happy endings, but unlike the Beast whose disdain for self-control is apparent Dotson also quips that even good girls are bad in the painting Bad Pet. The gentle and refined Lady sits poised, her head cocked slightly as she gazes curiously with her large doe eyes as if seeking approval. Her mouth agape as if about to speak reveals the luminescent pink glow inside her mouth and the muzzle that quickly restricts her speech. As if emanating from within, Dotson’s blushes the warm pink hues on her snout, cheeks and neck to reveal Lady flush with desire as she is restrained in a bondage-like pleasure.

Like his subject matter and theme, the sleek surfaces of panel barely contain the sultry imagery and enlivened color that Dotson confines to these single frames. The palette of richly saturated pastels echo with equal vibrancy to the bold primary hues that articulate his sprayed and painted compositions that would otherwise slide from the surfaces to visually evoke something of a Lynda Benglis pour.

The visceral response that Dotson excites with these paintings is magnetic. Akin to the naughty coyote, whose eyes will forever feast upon Red Hot Riding Hood, Dotson entices us with these scenes, hand selected and poignantly paused, to pique our own desires and indulge a bit longer.

Michael Dotson lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his MFA from the American University in Washington D.C. and his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Michael has had notable international exhibitions which include A Whole New World, a solo presentation at Salon Zurcher, Paris and a group show at Brand New Gallery, Milan. Other recent exhibitions include group presentations with Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, The Hole, New York, Castor Gallery, New York, and Graham Gallery, New York. Michael was recently featured in The Huffington Post, FRIEZE Magazine as well as Dwell Magazine and New American Paintings. Await what the stars will bring is Michael’s first solo exhibition in New York.

Installation View: Michael Dotson, Await what the stars will bring, Zieher Smith & Horton

Installation View: Michael Dotson, Await what the stars will bring, Zieher Smith & Horton

Installation View: Michael Dotson, Await what the stars will bring, Zieher Smith & Horton


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