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A Lie Not a Wish, Catalyst Contemporary, Baltimore, MD

Humanoid Boogy, MICA, Baltimore, MD

True Dutterer, The Katzen Arts Center, American University, Washington, DC

New Paintings, Frank Marino Gallery, New York, NY

Themes, Jack Rasmussen Gallery, Washington, DC

Recent Paintings, Jack Rasmussen Gallery, Washington, DC

Paintings on Paper, Pyramid Galleries, Ltd., Washington, DC

Recent Works, Pyramid Galleries, Ltd., Washington, DC

Works on Paper, Pyramid Galleries, Ltd., Washington, DC

Recent Works–Moorefield Series and Related Drawings, Pyramid Galleries, Ltd., Washington, DC

Light Surface, Corcoran Gallery of Art Dupont Center, Washington, D. C.


William S. Dutterer, Mind Meld, Oil on canvas, 1986, 79 x 60.5 inches



New York, New York, 2007

Hagerstown, Maryland, 1943

MFA Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
BFA Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD




William S. Dutterer was a passionate artist whose paintings and drawings tackle socially conscious topics like war and humans’ cruelty toward humans as well as more personal ideas of loneliness and isolation. While Minimalism is the hallmark of his earliest output, the vast majority of Dutterer’s subsequent work often walks a thin figurative line between humor and tragedy. His work suggests a collective consciousness and history of America, both the actual history and our attempts to cover and silence it to craft a more comfortable mythology. Dutterer was determined to examine, dissect, and confront these mythologies and our confinement within them to challenge these wishful fictions that frequently supplant the truth.

For the enigmatic Dutterer, a prime concern was the idea of getting beneath the surface of things, whether literally under water in the Joe Diver paintings, or figuratively in connecting to someone on a deep level. To achieve this, he used the construct of dualities in both subject matter and in techniques employed. He often painted the backgrounds of canvases with multiple layers of colors, then used the blunt end of a brush to incise the outline of the subject, revealing the layers beneath. This physical manifestation of going beneath the surface also shows up in subject matter. For example, in the Joe Diver series, consider the tension between the surface of the water and what lies below. Joe Diver journeys beneath the ocean’s surface on a voyage of self-discovery. Dutterer once commented: “I love that kick in the pants—that second or third, fourth level reading that makes the viewer, in a sense, go in deeper than they anticipated. That to me is when I’m doing my job—when I can get somebody to go in deeper than they expected.” (Interview with Victoria Boone, April 21, 2004.)