Cecily Brown is one of the most celebrated artists working in painting today. She draws from the compositional structure, historical motifs, and virtuosic brushwork of master painters across a diverse range of genres. Key to the success of Brown’s aesthetic is her ability to seemingly transform paint into flesh, embedding the human form within a frenzied, fragmented commentary on desire, life, and death.
If painters are storytellers, then Brown has stories to tell, and they can be barbaric, shredded and fragmentary. Her figurative abstractions tell stories, often many at a time, in ways that activate every inch of the canvas or paper. Early in her career, she was celebrated for her embrace of sexuality, often depicted by frolicking bunnies and later with orgiastic human figures. Over the past twenty years, Brown’s work has evolved gradually, expanding in scale, diversifying in allusion and palette, and incorporating elements of landscape. Sometimes she uses improvisation to kick-start new paintings, allowing unplanned initial strokes to help dictate the works’ subsequent direction. On other occasions she borrows imagery from art history, popular culture, or the intersection of the two.
Born in London, Brown graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in the early 1990s before moving to New York, where she continues to live and work today. Her work is included in public collections such as the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Louisiana Museum, Denmark; the National Gallery of Norway, Oslo; the Tate Gallery, London; Glenstone Museum, Potomac; and the Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris.