Dutes Miller: Le Toucher

Opening: Saturday, Sep 18, 2021 11 am – 6 pm
Saturday, Sep 18 – Oct 30, 2021

1709 W. Chicago Ave
2nd. Floor
Chicago, IL 60622

Appointments are not necessary, masks are required

Dutes Miller’s work critically engages mythologies surrounding human sexuality, especially of the male body as it manifests itself in gay desire – in its evident state of arousal, its protuberances, orifices, and its emissions. His small painted sculptures are the result of engagement into the multivalent expressions of queer desire. They are portraits, other portals, all pursuing their sexual desires.   Erotic possibilities are exaggerated, multiplied, and mutated into a myriad of forms. Miller’s forms refuse to be confined to either side of a binary, they are both the fucked and the fucker. And sometimes both. In his paintings, collages and artist books, Miller examines the spaces where the artist’s inner life, queer subcultures and mass media intersect, appropriating images from pornographic websites, magazines and his own imaginings to investigate alternative standards of beauty, visualizations of lust and desire found on the internet, and power dynamics in sexual relationships.

Dutes Miller’s fourth show at Western Exhibitions will open during regular business hours on Saturday, September 18 from 11am to 6pm, and will run through October 30, 2021. The gallery is open to the public, with no appointment necessary, Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.

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.


View show online here


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 into 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