Cecily Brown – born London 1969
Presenting a world that pulses with excesses and appetites, Cecily Brown explores the breadth of human experience in tactile oil paintings.
Broadly inspired by the history of painting—from Rubens and Veronese to the muscular expressionism of Willem de Kooning—Brown’s personal vision transcends classical notions of genre and narrative, freeing subject matter from its original context and positioning it within a new aesthetic reality. Characterized by overt sexual imagery and an Abstract Expressionist gestural style, Brown’s work has emerged some of the most influential of her generation.
Her large-scale canvases often feature figures engaging in sexual acts under a veil of color, as seen in Sweetie (2001), a semi-abstracted couple captured mid-coitus and rendered in bright pinks and purples.
Cecily Brown draws inspiration from sources as diverse as Goya, Joan Mitchell, and Willem de Kooning, and her paintings combine aspects of both figuration and abstraction. Borrowing the names of classic novels, plays, and Hollywood films (such as The Fugitive Kind, High Society, or The Pajama Game) and utilizing a wide-ranging color palette, from faint pastels to lavish oils, she seems to draw from the best of both Cézanne and early Pollock.
The New York Times grouped Brown into a movement of leading contemporary female artists that included Sue Williams and Lisa Yuskavage. Brown was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston in 2006, and a solo show at Gagosian Gallery in London in 2013.