Will Cotton’s new show at Mary Boone brings together the artists signature imagery of cotton candy and frosting with pop singer Katy Perry. This seems like nothing more than a cheap gimmick to sell a few paintings but I’m sure Mr.Cotton isn’t losing much sleep over my opinions of his hugely successful career. I wish that there was a moment of tension in these works or that they weren’t just pretty paintings of pretty things but for me the work falls flat. Each masterfully painted work looks like another precious thing to hang over your designer couch, and that’s not a good thing. Read the below press release and see additional images from Cotton’s Katy Perry paintings and decide for yourself. Is this interesting art or just extravagant illustrations of a mediocre pop star that will soon fade away?
“Conjuring his signature land of plentiful sweets, for the touchstone of this group of new works the Artist depicts Katy Perry (Cotton served as Artistic Director for her 2010 California Gurls music video) as the reluctant queen of an imagined Utopia. In Crown, she stands before a palisade of pastel cakes, holding the headpiece as if wary of its obligations and consequences, realizing that a reign of opulence and profusion will inevitably conclude in decline and decay.
Cotton evokes the memory of a time before this awareness in Candy Forest, an idyllic landscape that merits bright color but is instead painted in the monochromatic palette of an old sepia photograph. Yet even in that distant past this Utopia harbored an underside – a truth underscored in the paintings Landfill and Trash Pile. Here, doughnuts, pastry, and tarts are nothing but layers in a garbage heap, their allure diminished in a realm of infinite riches.”