Michael Hutter

Have you ever woken from a dream and then, later, tried to recount it to a friend, giving a description which is sketchy at best? Well, German born painter and illustrator Michael Hutter does not seem to have this issue. With a vivid dream/nightmarish look, a strong Gothic feel and heavy sexual tones, Hutter’s work is similar to none. Often compared to Hieronymus Bosch, he has brought a 15th century art style into the 21st century. One could easily get lost in his fine detailed group scenes or trying to decipher the cryptic symbolism of his work. The background setting on many of the works is reminiscent of the 1902 short film, A Trip To The Moon. With buildings and landscapes which can only be described as alien or originating from another dimension altogether. There are also obvious religious and social tones.

The Erotic also plays a large part in Hutter’s work. Naked maidens surrounded by the grotesque and the macabre giving somewhat of a strange balance and subtle commentary on female sex and sexuality.

Michael Hutter’s recent exhibition in GalleryX showcases some prime examples of Michael’s work. Two pieces of this exhibition stand out most. The Weigher of Head and Heart is near enough a dissection and examination of the female. A triptych depicting a maddened crowd of village spectators at the presumed persecution of a tentacled accused naked female. Her tentacles wrapped closely to the feet of her persecutor, raising the question of who really is in control. Then there is the scene of the dissection of the female body, In jars upon the table is what appears to be three elements of reproduction. A woman in one, a flaccid and an erect penis in the second, the third being a foetus. The examiner wears two faces, living and dead. He holds a scale weighing the value of the woman’s head and heart. His five fingered and one thumbed hand giving the ‘Devil’s Horns’ salute with the central fingers becoming opened legs and a vagina blooming on his palm. Almost giving the impression of the beginning of childbirth. The third in this triptych piece is near enough a replica of the first, only this time with a post-apocalyptic feel. The previous villagers become militarized. The ground has opened, a maiden stands precariously on a long plank, half extended over the edge of the crevasse. Three youths stand on the other end making a counter balance. A similar idea to the scales of the dissection scene.

The Last Flight is pure emotion. Despair, panic, rejection and isolation. A young girl trying desperately to catch the attention of the last Zeppelin leaving what was probably a once great city, now desolate and abandoned. There is a nearly agoraphobic feel in this work, with its lone character, crumbling background, yellowish and rusty colours, like a sand castle that could fall at any moment and be blown away from existence. It is magnificent in its simplicity and heartbreaking for the exact same reason.

There is a recurring theme in several paintings on display. An interpretation of a Kali/Durga figure. A strong female idol. Many of Michael Hutter’s works give a near erotic and subtle malevolence to his nudes, like a beautiful siren calling a sailor to his doom. One can never truly know which is the dominant sex in Hutter’s work. Along with the nudes there is also the marine life, the submerged. These creatures are often depicted as sea life that lives in the very dark depths of the ocean. Creatures that one can imagine H.P Lovecraft would keep in an aquarium in his sitting room. These sea creatures also symbolise of the darkness that dwells beneath, hidden but always there.

Overall, Michael Hutter has achieved an incomparable style. His use of oils and colour give life to his imagination. Each painting is unique in its ideas, symbolism and emotion. One could stand, looking, falling and immersing oneself into the dreams and nightmares that he has captured. Sweet dreams, Michael.

— Dominick Pio O’Cruadliocht