Michelle Doll : Tokens

1 September - 1 October 2017

American artist Michelle Doll pursued her art education with a BFA at Kent State University and then at The New York Academy of Art where she graduated ‘cum laude’ in 2006. Since then she has had a distinguished track record of exhibitions in America, especially, New York. She has shown in many international locations including Oslo, Norway. She lives and works in Hoboken, NJ. The Pontone Gallery is delighted to stage her first solo show in London.


The artist makes paintings of intimate moments of contact between people. She deploys a classical, representational method, which exploits a subtle handling of tone and colour to express the complex variations of the male and female body. Skin and flesh fascinate her and this is expressed in the delicately worked surfaces of the paintings: We see ivory fields of flesh shot through with faint blue veins and the stronger graphic lines of tattoos, pinker areas of the body contrast with scraps of skilfully realised clothing, intertwined arms and limbs reveal the erotic tension of alternately tensed and relaxed muscle.


Of particular note in these paintings is the treatment of hands. The power of touch is implicit in their combinations and gestures. There is a sense that that to know something is to touch it. Skilfully rendered, this most difficult of forms references Renaissance archetypes, perhaps Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’ and also the evocatively placed hands of ‘The Arnolfini Marriage’. There is a correspondence between the touch of the painter’s brush on canvas and the stroke of hand across skin. We become aware of the tactile power of paint and its potential to make an immediate and powerful connection to the corporeal world of the body.


These paintings look at the relationship between couples and talk about shared, private moments. They reveal an erotic closeness and mutual vulnerability, something timelessly human and endlessly fascinating.