Cecily Brown: Serenade
"The place I'm interested in is where the mind goes when its trying to make up for what isn't there. When something is just suggested."
Cecily Brown in conversation with Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, (US edition), February, 1999
Cecily Brown graduated with a degree in painting from the Slade in 1993 but discouraged by the disenfranchisement of painting in Britain in the early 90's, moved to New York where she was able to pursue her preferred medium, uninhibited by the dominant ideologies of her London contemporaries at that time. Brown has since emerged with her own distinct voice, as part of a new generation of painters living and working in New York to be hailed as one its most exciting and talked about proponents.
Two solo exhibitions at Deitch projects established an enthusiastic following for the artist and her vibrant, thrusting use of paint. The first depicted large orgiastic panoramas of rabbits in a sexual feeding frenzy, which was supplanted in her second exhibition by the use of human flesh whose naked visceral qualities were matched by the textured virtuoso handling of the paint.
In this, her third solo exhibition in as many years, Brown's paintings continue to have a raw energy while the graphic and sexually charged depictions of the earlier work has morphed into a more ambiguous vision. The body parts and disembodied smiles and grimaces are still present, but less explicit and the more muted quality of the recent paintings seem to inhabit a more psychological space. The charge of violence and eroticism is implicit rather than clearly articulated and the application of paint is more open and free, embodying the content rather than describing it, thus developing the exploitation of the canvas as a fictional/artificial space, which requires a more sustained reading from the viewer.