Saturated Colors, Video Games and Disney Characters in Michael Dotson's Studio

Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg came with me to six artists’ studios ranging from established to emerging and we have documented two of our collaborations here and here.  Among those visits, we went to see Michael Dotson in his Brooklyn studio when he was finishing some paintings for his newest group show called “Windows” (making reference to the Microsoft operating system, first released nearly thirty years ago) which will run until mid-December at Denny Gallery in SoHo.  The ethos of the exhibit is to show the work of seven artists born in the 1980s who had early experiences of beauty and art making in the digital realm.  No wonder then why Michael’s work has been selected for this show: many of his paintings remind me of video games from the eighties – brought to our times in the coolest contemporary way.   

Michael, who is originally from Cleveland, got his MFA from American University and his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, is the nicest person with a very deep sensibility and a willingness to paint canvases that make onlookers (and himself) happy.  There is no drama, no darkness, and no incomprehensibly conceptual tunnels.  Dotson’s art is beautiful to look at and amazing to live with.  

What I love about Michael, besides his very warm personality, is his use of color, his impressive technique and the fact that he is mostly a figurative painter with enormous talent in an era where more and more emerging artists are leaning toward abstract as a form of expression. He loves patterns, repetition, space, fluidity, deconstruction and symmetry.  Some of his paintings depict Disney characters in his own poignant interpretation, with no irony and without the need to make them scary, sexual or ugly.  They are pure, happy representations that come alive in saturated canvases created with oil, acrylic and airbrush.   

I foresee a brilliant future for Michael and think that he can go places, not only because his art is so special, but because as a person, he is so kind. And in my book, that combination will take anyone far.