Cecily Brown @ Gagosian Gallery

Gagosian Gallery presents an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by British-born, New York-based paitner Cecily Brown. For the first time, the artist is showing gouaches and watercolours together with her paintings. The show includes one big triptych, a number of smaller canvases and numerous works on paper.

The artist is inspired by many sources, ranging from Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Breughel the Elder, and James Ensor to the abstract expressionism – in particular mid-period De Kooning and Philip Guston’s almost impressionist abstractions. She brings to the conventions of a traditionally male-dominated history an assertive and, at times, ribald femininity. Brown revists certain famous scenes and creates paintings that transcend the notions of genre and narration but in a tedious and old-fashioned manner.

This series of intimately scaled works was originally inspired by Michelangelo’s earliest attributed painting, ‘The Torment of St. Anthony’, as well as following on from Brown’s own studies after Struwwelpeter’s ‘The Story of Fidgety Philip’ from 2006 to the present. Her small paintings are complex and feature the same expressionist intensity of her large-scale productions. Even though her works look so busy and actube with their surfaces painted with vivid colours, they are somehow dead, lacking character and any form of tension or energy. They appear as messy representations of human body parts and other creatures all participating in a chaotic allegretto leading to a rather confusing finale.
|Kostas Prapoglou