Thug in Landscape – oil on linen 196 x 246 cm
Cecily Brown is currently showing at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin along with Juergen Teller. I attended the opening on September 18 and was subsequently mind-blown by the paintings. Cecily Brown is a female, British painter, who is making paintings similar to the work of the Abstract Expressionists of the 1940s and 50s. Channeling clear influences such as de Kooning and Francis Bacon, Brown creates work with one foot in the past and the other taking a step forward.
The Triumph of Virtue – oil on linen 196 x 246 cm
There are basically three different types of painting: still life, landscape, and figurative. Brown’s work is clearly figurative, as disembodied limbs and faces push and pull, simultaneously bursting from and hiding within the paintings. However, she also seems to blend in elements of still lifes and landscapes. Despite the packed and crowded painting, there is a surprising amount of space in the pieces. Imagine a landscape by JMW Turner, inhabited by the grotesque figures of Francis Bacon, yet fractured and destroyed like the Cubists. Brown also manages to involve the symbolic nature of still life painting through her use of shape and color.
The Bodysnatcher – oil on linen 170 x 165 cm
The title of the show, “The Sleep Around and the Lost and Found,” gives viewers some insight into the paintings. With its sexual undertones it relates to the figures in the paintings. You know they are there, but they are hidden by all sorts of writhing color and mutating form. As a female working with a style and medium that is associated with white, American males, may assumptions can be made about what she wants these paintings to say. However, the artist herself would probably say something completely different.
The show runs until September 26. More information here