Life, colour, motion and erotic power pervade Cecily Brown’s works. From the start the British painter (b. 1969) has focused on painting, which – supplemented by drawings and monotypes – is also central to the exhibition at Louisiana.
Since the end of the 1990s Brown has lived in New York, the epicentre of Abstract Expressionist American art in the post-war period. Artists like Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston and especially Joan Mitchell, but also her fellow countryman Francis Bacon and far older masters, have played a major role as inspiration.
Brown’s relationship with history is not about following imperceptibly in the footsteps of the artists mentioned, for when she made her impact in earnest on the art scene the figurations and fragments in her works had in the meantime become a difficult issue. Brown has maintained and actively exploited the perplexity and incomprehension that the current age can have in the face of such an obviously improvisational talent, which at one and the same time pays tribute to the potential of painting for seduction, and insistently grafts onto it classic pornography, elements from the visual worlds of Bosch, Goya and Hogarth, and most recently motifs from the human disasters of our own time. Brown’s work offers a female artist’s gaze at a world which in many ways has been created by men – and that part of it is hard to ignore.
(Photo: Cecily Brown, Where, When, How Often and With Whom?, 2017, oil on canvas, 272 x 1008 cm, Courtesy of the artist, © Cecily Brown)