Cecily Brown was born in London in 1969 and currently lives and works in New York. She studied at the Slade School in London and received her BA in 1993. Brown had her first solo exhibition in New York at Deitch Projects in 1997 and a second in 1998.
She has taken the sexual power and energy that formerly was the exclusive domain of expressionist male painters and unashamedly claimed it for herself. For those familiar with her earlier paintings of copulating bunnies, and her subsequent demented orgy scenes that cross Francis Bacon with Fragonard under the sway of de Sade, Brown’s new paintings are a leap.
In these huge de Kooning-like paintings, Brown has fractured or exploded or buried her formerly explicit erotic imagery in a churning sea of frenetic strokes and scrapes. This mass of fleshy colors still feels like it contains bodies.
In a physical, sexual sense, the imagery in these paintings is so dependent on an absence, on dissolving form, and their energy is so vibratory rather than phallic. And because they are so wet and translucent. The surfaces fairly glisten from oil and varnish.
Even more intriguing is the observation that her role models are exclusively men: Picasso, de Kooning, Bacon. She doesn’t avail herself of the now-familiar feminist strategies of appropriation or critique.
She has exhibited widely including solo shows at:
GEM, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hague (2010).
Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2010);
Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2008);
Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA (2006);
Des Moines Art Center, IA (2006);
Modern Art Oxford, England (2005);
Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2005);
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2004);
MACRO, Rome (2003);
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2002).