Dutes Miller takes full advantage of his fourth solo exhibition at Western Exhibitions to celebrate queer-sex positivity as a form of resistance to the dominant culture. In a large body of new sculpture, collage, painting and drawing, the artist depicts his vision of a queer cultural revolution still evolving—free from taboo, stigma and repression, and bursting with sexual connection and body adoration. Miller depicts the gay male nude as a medley of arousal zones, in freeform shapes and wild paint globs of desire.
Miller figures in to a movement of “image culture” artists who appropriate and reinterpret gay mass media. He pulls men from porno/physique magazines and draws all over them. He also thrusts these men into his paintings as anonymous forms, out of a past era, into an extravagant, fleshy environment. Miller borrows queer visual culture to liberate it from body-image dogma. He touches black-and-white photographic images with gold leaf, exposing men who are not typically considered sexy, exploring their bodies as desirable to themselves and to others.
Boldly, Miller’s exhibition features a series of wall sculptures, over 30 in total, hanging like specimen, each an ambiguous portrait compiled of surprising materials and bulging appendages, looking like the dangling insides and outsides of a body. A fan of Deconstructionism and the philosophy of the body, Miller follows his self-interiority into the spaces inside the body, looking for the origins of desire in the flesh itself. This essentialism is Miller’s reaction or anti-gesture to the recent re-emergence of coded gay art mostly in the form of coy abstract painting. Instead, Dutes Miller offers a steady stream of lust in its wild state.
-Jason Foumberg, Chicago, July 2021
Dutes Miller’s work has been written about on artforum (1, 2,) Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, and the Chicago Reader. His collaborative work with his husband Stan Shellabarger, as Miller & Shellabarger, won a 2008 Artadia Award and a 2007 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award and has been written about in Art in America, Artforum.com, Art & Auction, Frieze, Artnet, The Art Newspaper, Flash Art, and the Chicago Tribune. Miller received a BFA from Illinois State University. He is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and lives and works in Chicago.
The gallery is open to the public, with no appointment necessary, Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
The show opens on Saturday the 18th of September, from 11am to 5pm.