Miller’s first solo show at Western Exhibitions,
“The Ecstasyist”, features a new series of collages,
artists books and phallic sculptures that examine the spaces where
the artist’s inner life, queer subcultures and mass media
intersect. Miller appropriates images from pornographic websites,
magazines and his own personal imaginings to investigate alternative
standards of beauty, visualizations of lust and desire found on
the internet, and power dynamics in sexual relationships.
Miller dissects and reassembles individual photo spreads from
gay pornographic magazines to create collages that resemble cubist
portraits in the way they show the same model in similar poses
from different angles. A companion series of large-scale figure
studies on paper further complicate the ideal of beauty and desire:
they are realized using jpegs posted on internet pick-up site
created by and for “bears” (a subculture of large,
hairy gay who value gruffly masculine behavior). The men in these
drawings are not the buff hunks populating most porno mages, but
nonetheless they project a raw sexuality.
“In the Garden” depicts an erotic battle between two
figures collaged together from queer porn and pro wrestling magazines.
Pro wrestling stars have figured greatly in Miller’s work.
The use of these iconic figures humorously project queer fantasies
into mainstream pop culture and reflect upon how power relations
are encoded in sexual desire. Miller has written of his fascination
with these larger-than-life cartoonish warriors: “WWF wrestling
was the only erotic material available to me (as a teen). The
anticipation of waiting to see some intentional man-to-man genital
contact, no matter how violent, was always in conflict with being
found out as a faggot by anyone who happened to see my growing
Other works in the show include the hand-made artist book "The
Ecstasyist", composed of altered ink-jet prints, ink drawings,
and watercolors and Miller’s sculptures, perhaps best described
as fetish objects, that are made by filling condoms with either
plaster or silicon, and hung from meat hooks to allow gravity
to determine the shape as the material solidifies.
This is Dutes Miller’s first solo show
at Western Exhibitions. Miller’s collages have been included
in exhibitions at Western Exhibitions, 40000 and COMA. His collaborative
work with his husband Stan Shellabarger, as Miller & Shellabarger,
has been well received locally and nationally, winning a 2008
Artadia Award and a 2007 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award.
Western Exhibitions has presented solo projects of their work
at the NADA Art Fair in Miami and the VOLTA show in Basel, Switzerland
in 2008. Miller & Shellabarger have been written about in
Artforum.com, Art & Auction, Frieze, Artnet, The Art Newspaper,
Flash Art, TimeOut Chicago, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Miller
received a BFA from Illinois State University and is an accomplished
pastry chef. He lives and works in Chicago.